Hamas has now turned towards cyber warfare


The IDF have blamed the attack on Palestinian hackers associated with Hamas. In the words of one Israeli official “hostile actions taken by the Hamas in the virtual world have repercussions in the real world”. The widely-reported news story is not the first time that Hamas has allegedly turned to cyberattacks against the Israelis. PHOTO/Associated Press

It has not been a good century for the Palestinians. The trouble, some historians would say, began as long as 103 years ago with the Balfour Declaration that gave Israeli Jews the right to establish a national homeland for the Jewish people. Less than 10 per cent of population at the time in Palestine was Jewish, but that did not matter. It has not mattered since either: not through the British Protectorate that was established in 1920, nor when the Jewish state of Israel was actually established in 1948 — and not at all since.

The 70 or so years since have bought no respite from Jewish settler colonialism either. A few weeks ago, Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, came up with a peace plan for the Palestinians — without bothering to even talk to the Palestinians. It gave even less to them than they have. They rejected it immediately.

With symmetrical efforts at negotiation mired in such doom, Palestinian groups like Hamas seem to have turned to a new form of attacking Israeli military targets. Recently, the Israeli Defence Forces claimed that Hamas hackers had targeted Israeli soldiers’ smartphones.

According to the IDF spokesman, the hackers used pictures of young women to attract the attention and interest of male soldiers. The hackers (posing as women and using attractive pictures) then tried to strike up a friendship with the soldiers using various fake social media profiles. If the soldiers took the bait, they were then asked to download a phone application from a link; using the excuse that the chat app would help the women (who said they were immigrants and did not speak Hebrew) communicate with the soldiers.

Many soldiers did apparently download one of these apps. It was only many weeks later that Israeli intelligence realised that the apps were targeting many Israeli soldiers. Once installed, the apps introduced a malware virus that enabled it to access all the information on the smartphone. In addition, it also enabled the hackers to remote manipulate the speech and camera functions of the smartphone, allowing videos, etc to be made without the knowledge of the phone’s owner.

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