Twice in the last two months (April 7th and March 25th) anti-Israeli Arab groups tried to organize a massive Internet attack to, as they put it, “wipe Israel off the Internet.” Both attempts failed and Israeli hackers retaliated by seeking out and identifying (on anonbastar.blogspot.co.il) some of the anonymous Moslem hackers organizing and participating in these operations.
What this incident demonstrates is that Arab Cyber War capabilities are increasing but very gradually and mostly at the informal hacker level. One reason for this is that there are a lot more Arab Internet crooks out there. It’s a lucrative business and Islamic terrorists have long sustained themselves with various criminal enterprises. Credit card fraud has always been popular, and it was only a matter of time before even the Islamic terrorists (who tend to recruit from the shallow end of the gene pool) discovered that Internet based credit card fraud is much more profitable than the older methods. This trend has produced more Arabs who have some basic hacking skills and that has led to more web mischief in the name of Islamic radicalism.
Arab attempts to attack Israel via the Internet have been going on for over a decade, but rarely with much impact. Whenever there’s another crises in the Arab world that can be blamed on Israel, the non-government Arab hackers take a swipe at Israel. None of them has managed to do any serious damage yet but the Israelis have noted the trend and taken action. This is bad news for the Arab hackers and black hat (evil) hackers everywhere.
That’s because Israel is the source of some of the best Internet security software and many of the new ideas in this field. Israel has also developed a robust attitude toward self-survival. In other words, the Israelis are quick to defend themselves and do it in exceptionally effective ways. Since Israeli firms already lead the way in developing Internet security software, the new threat from Arab hackers has created a national (government backed) effort to increase Internet security as a military asset, as well as more and better commercial products. This is no idle talk for Israelis, who are reminded daily that they live in a rough neighborhood and constantly face attack by neighbors who openly proclaim their desire to see Israel destroyed.
Israel is spending more on Internet intelligence efforts and increasing the number of Internet security experts in the military and other government departments. Commercial Internet security firms typically cooperate with their government counterparts, so all this new government business will eventually result in more competitive commercial security products. Meanwhile, the Israelis have a growing number of more skillful Arab hackers to practice on.