Information Warfare: Gaza Cell Phones Targeted


January 2, 2009: As Israeli bombs began to fall on Gaza in the past week, Palestinians also found local radio and TV broadcasts interrupted, and replaced with messages from the Israeli armed forces, warning civilians, for their own safety, to stay away from Hamas personnel. Similar messages showed up on Palestinian cell phones. All this is nothing new.

During the last two years, Israeli Information War specialists hacked into the Syrian and Lebanese phone systems, and distributed messages meant to cause problems for Islamic terrorist groups. In the Syria incident, Israel sent thousands of messages to Syrians offering a $10 million reward for information on the whereabouts of missing Israeli soldiers. Syrian intelligence officials believed the campaign was more interested in recruiting intelligence agencies. Many Syrians thought it was all an attempt by their own government to find and identify disloyal citizens. Whatever the case, such an attack is nothing new.

At the same time, Israel has been hacking into Lebanon based Hezbollah radio and TV broadcasts, and inserting messages that point out mistakes Hezbollah has made, or lies Hezbollah has been pushing, or simply ridiculing the Islamic radicals. Israeli Information War teams have also spammed Lebanese cell phone users with anti-Hezbollah voice mail and text messages.

This sort of thing confirms to the Arabs that the Israelis are evil, in league with the devil and thus in possession of some kind of magic. Other Arab pundits point out that Arab countries need to increase their spending on education, so that Arab geeks can hack Israeli communications. But the magic angle tends to be more popular with editors and government censors.



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