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Information Warfare: Hackers for Hamas


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November 6, 2023:

Russian and Gaza-based hackers are joining the war in Gaza. They are doing this by attacking Israeli infrastructure targets. This cybersecurity campaign against Israeli targets is complicating the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict, with hackers launching attacks on government and private sites, as well as an Israeli app that warns residents of incoming rocket strikes. In some cases, denial-of-service attacks knocked websites offline for short periods. The hackers include pro-Russian cybercriminal gangs like Anonymous Sudan, which claimed to have targeted the website of the Jerusalem Post. Earlier in 2023, Gaza-based hacking group Storm-1133 attacked energy, defense, and telecommunications companies inside Israel. The group used fake LinkedIn profiles and posed as software developers or project managers to send malware to employees at those targets and install back doors for later communications. The pro-Palestine AnonGhost hacking group manipulated alerts on an Israeli app that warns residents of rocket fire, in one instance warning that a nuclear bomb was on the way. They hacked 10,000 to 20,000 users.

 Before the recent Hamas offensive, Russia and Israel were both defending themselves against more complex hacks. Both countries are major developers of systems that disrupt satellite navigation systems like GPS or the Russian GLONASS. Both nations use their jamming and anti-jamming tech against each other because Russia maintains a naval base and airbase on the Syrian coast while Israel is constantly under attacks by Iranian UAVs and missiles launched from Syria. Israeli missiles regularly hit Iranian targets in Syria and Russia uses its GPS jamming systems to disrupt these attacks. Israel has responded with new tech installed in the missile guidance systems that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of the jamming. This GPS jamming and counter-jamming competition has been going on for over a decade and became particularly intense when Russian forces arrived in Syria. Before that Russia had provided their ally Syria with these jamming weapons while Israel and the United States cooperated in developing new jamming tech.

Details of the new jamming technologies are usually kept secret but those that are sold as commercial products must reveal some technical details. For example, in 2021 the Israeli military announced that it was the prime backer of the new Advanced Navigation Technology Center. This new division of state-owned IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) develops and manufactures new generations of INS (Inertial Navigation System) technology to complement or replace satellite (GPS) guidance. IAI did not provide any more details of the new INS technology, not even the name of the new system. IAI already develops and makes INS systems as unjammable backups for GPS systems, but the future is seen as better INS.


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