Hamas, the de facto rulers of the impoverished Gaza Strip and backed by Iran, is intensifying its cyberattacks on Israel. According to a report that was recently released by the Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council, it is time for Western nations, including the United States, to take such threats more seriously. (Hamas Cyber Attack)
Non-resident fellow Simon Handler’s report says that while the United States focuses most of its cybersecurity concerns on the “big four” nation-state adversaries — China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea — non-state actors are becoming more organized and effective in cyber warfare.
“Is an emerging and capable cyber actor,” writes Handler, “is a clear test case for what such groups are capable of.” Hamas is a designated terror organization by the United States.
Handler draws attention to the fact that Hamas, which has waged numerous wars against Israel and carried out numerous terror attacks against its civilians, has not necessarily altered its overarching objectives, which are to abolish what it considers to be the illegitimate state of Israel and establish an Islamic, Palestinian state in its place. Rather, Hamas has now utilized sophisticated, high-tech terror options in its struggle.
According to the report, “the policy community to think differently about how it approaches similar non-state groups that may leverage the cyber domain in the future,” offensive cyber operations are “in other words, a new way for Hamas to do old things better.”
Brigadier General (Res.): “I think that the United States and everybody else should be concerned because terrorists are using the internet.”In an interview with Fox News Digital, Yossi Kupperwasser, a senior researcher at the Israel Defense and Security Forum, made the following statement: Other terrorist organizations and targets can carry out what Hamas does against Israel. (Hamas Cyber Attack)
“A robust online presence is essential for modern terrorist organizations,” the report states. They use the internet to recruit members, raise money for operations, educate target audiences, and attract global attention — all essential functions for staying relevant and surviving.”
According to Kupperwasser, who previously served as the head of the Military Intelligence Assessment Division of the Israeli army, the realm of cyberwar provided terror groups with the opportunity to cause widespread damage with minimal risk. Additionally, he stated, Hamas had already carried out “pretty impressive” cyber operations.
He stated, “They can cause real damage and, eventually, one of them can succeed out of many attempts.” We excel in the area of countermeasures, and Israel has very good ones. However, in cyberspace, even if you manage to thwart many attempts against you, it is not foolproof when you are on the receiving end. (Hamas Cyber Attack)
Israel has long argued that Hamas’ cyber capabilities pose a growing danger. Israel was widely criticized for destroying a tower block in Gaza that contained the offices of The Associated Press and other media during a fierce round of fighting with Hamas in May 2021.Later, the Israeli military stated that the 11-story al-Jalaa building also contained the electronic warfare site of the Islamist terror group.
The Atlantic Council also gives the scenario of Israeli soldiers watching the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia through an app on their smartphones at an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) base. Golden Cup, a free Android app from the Google Play store, was actually malware that secretly monitored the device of the target and stole sensitive information.
Prior to that, Hamas attempted to gain access to sensitive army information by connecting with young recruits through a series of fictitious Facebook accounts in 2017.In Israel and abroad, dozens of soldiers, most of whom were from combat units, were tricked into talking to people they thought were young, attractive women while Hamas got access to important data on their phones.
According to Joe Truzman, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), “Hamas’ cyber capabilities have become increasingly sophisticated and have expanded to target not only Israel, but other countries it sees as hostile.” Hamas and other Palestinian militant organizations have slowly developed sophisticated strategies to counter Israel over the past decade or so, realizing that the cyberspace was an important area for weaponization. Hamas paid tribute to the person who, it claimed, established the group’s cyber unit eight years ago last month on its Telegram channel. Israeli news channel i24 reported that the organization stated in the announcement that it had been “keeping pace with scientific and technological development and inventing new methods in confronting the Zionist enemy (Israel)” throughout its “jihadist history.”
Even though the report from the Atlantic Council refers to Hamas as “a green hat hacker,” the group is “fully committed to making an impact and keen to learn along the way” and is relatively new to the world of hacking.
“Hamas has exhibited consistent improvement in its digital abilities and tasks over the long run, particularly in its surveillance activities against inward and outer focuses on,” the report said . “Terrorist strategies, on the other hand, are characterized by the organization’s improvisation, use of relatively primitive tools, and attempts to influence audiences. (Hamas Cyber Attack)
According to Truzman, “Hamas’ recently revealed cyber unit does pose a threat against Israel.” When the Israel Defense Forces bombed a Gaza Strip location used by Hamas for cyber operations in 2019, it showed that it was a threat.
He went on to say that “one of the most concerning aspects of Hamas’ capabilities is its ability to recruit spies in Israel for cyber operations,” pointing to a recent incident in which three Israelis were caught transferring a large amount of sensitive data to Hamas in Turkey.
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