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October 22, 2014 0

Pro-Hezbollah Hackers Target Media Group For Its Position On Israel

On Octo­ber 20, pro-Hezbollah hack­ers took con­trol of the Twit­ter account of a promi­nent Lebanese Chris­t­ian TV sta­tion, Murr Tele­vi­sion, known as MTV Lebanon, because the sta­tion allegedly failed to describe Hamas com­bat­ants killed in the fight­ing with Israel as “martyrs.”mtv-lebanon-hacking-hezbollah

The hack­ers changed the Twit­ter account’s cover image to a photo of a Hezbol­lah fighter under a Hezbol­lah flag and tweeted a mes­sage from the account stating:

“[Only] when you learn the dif­fer­ence between a mar­tyr and a killed [per­son], between an agent [of Israel] and a resis­tance fighter…. [Only] When you learn that Israel is the enemy, then your account will return to you. So we don’t for­get Palestine.@MTVLebanonNews.”

While no group has claimed respon­si­bil­ity for the hack­ing, Hezbol­lah’s media arm,Al Manar, praised the attack in a report pub­lished yes­ter­day that read in part, “For sev­eral hours today, the flag of Hezbol­lah kept wav­ing over the pub­lic page of MTV twit­ter account.”

The hack­ing of MTV Lebanon and sub­se­quent prais­ing of it by Hezbollah’s media arm could rep­re­sent a new tac­tic in the way ter­ror­ist groups in the Mid­dle East attack their oppo­nents online and spread their ide­ol­ogy to a wider audi­ence. It does not appear that Hezbol­lah has pre­vi­ously endorsed cyber-attacks against its opponents.

ADL has tracked sev­eral hack­ing oper­a­tions against Jew­ish and Israeli insti­tu­tions by anti-Israel groups.

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October 20, 2014 0

The Lancet Editor Reconsiders Israel

In a sig­nif­i­cant about face, Dr. Richard Hor­ton, the edi­tor of the pres­ti­gious med­ical jour­nal The Lancet, pub­lished an arti­cle on Octo­ber 11 reflect­ing on his recent visit to Israel and announc­ing sev­eral pol­icy ini­tia­tives the jour­nal will now under­take which will more accu­rately reflect the Israeli med­ical sys­tem and deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Horton’s visit to Israel and his writ­ten reflec­tions came in the after­math of a firestorm that met The Lancet’s post­ing on July 23 of a highly one-sided, pro­pa­gan­dis­tic  “Open Let­ter for the Peo­ple of Gaza,”  con­demn­ing Israeli “aggres­sion” in Gaza and charg­ing Israel and Israeli physi­cians with full cul­pa­bil­ity for the sit­u­a­tion in Gaza.    The let­ter, signed by 24 indi­vid­u­als who iden­ti­fied them­selves as “doc­tors and sci­en­tists, who spend our lives devel­op­ing means to care and pro­tect health and lives” (many of whom have been strongly crit­i­cal of Israel for a long time), appeared on The Lancet web­site with­out any counter-perspective and, ini­tially, the pub­li­ca­tion encour­aged read­ers to add their names. As of July 30, the web­site had gar­nered 20,000 sig­na­tures before the sign­ing func­tion was shut down. The Lancet later posted a hand­ful of let­ters in response to the Gaza open let­ter on its web­site, includ­ing many by Israeli physi­cians and med­ical professionals.

Con­tro­versy over the let­ter raged at the height of the Israel-Hamas con­flict, with many, includ­ing ADL, call­ing into ques­tions Dr. Horton’s deci­sion to fea­ture such a “par­ti­san” and “highly politi­cized screed.”

In Sep­tem­ber, Hor­ton, invited by Pro­fes­sor Karl Sko­recki of the Ram­bam Hos­pi­tal in Haifa, decided to visit Israel for the first time. (See a video of his speech at Ram­bam below.)   The real­ity of Israel appar­ently took Dr. Hor­ton by sur­prise.  He writes:

At Ram­bam I saw an inspir­ing model of part­ner­ship between Jews and Arabs in a part of Israel where 40% of the pop­u­la­tion is Arab. I saw Ram­bam offer­ing an open hand, gladly grasped by fam­i­lies from Gaza, the West Bank, and Syria, who were liv­ing with life-threatening health-care needs. I saw Ram­bam as one exam­ple of a vision for a peace­ful and pro­duc­tive future between peo­ples, which I learned exists through­out Israel’s hospitals.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, Dr. Hor­ton admit­ted :  “I have seen for myself that what was writ­ten in the Man­d­uca et al let­ter does not describe the full reality.”

He also laid out new guide­lines for the edi­tors to more thor­oughly review the “inter­ests” of authors, as well as con­sider how to approach poten­tially divi­sive and polar­iz­ing con­tent, and announced plans for a Lancet series on Israel’s health and med­ical system.

In a let­ter to Dr. Hor­ton, ADL com­mended his arti­cle and state­ments and requested that a link to it appear promi­nently along­side the “Open Let­ter” which can still be found on The Lancet web­site.   ADL also noted that:

In your Octo­ber 11 arti­cle you state that “…The Lancet opposes all forms of boy­cott.”   You may be aware that numer­ous anti-Israel res­o­lu­tions pre­sented in uni­ver­si­ties, pro­fes­sional asso­ci­a­tions and the like – includ­ing those call­ing for boy­cotts of and divest­ment from Israel – cite mate­r­ial from The Lancet in bol­ster­ing their advo­cacy.  We urge you to speak out against all efforts to link The Lancet to advo­cacy in favor of boy­cotting Israel, its aca­d­e­mics and professionals.

Dr. Hor­ton says he will return to Israel in Jan­u­ary 2015.  Med­ical pro­fes­sional around the world will watch with inter­est what might result from this new aware­ness and open­ness to Israel.

 

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October 14, 2014 1

Florida Temple Latest Target For ISIS Sympathizing Hackers

Update — 10/15/14: ADL alerted Face­book about the “Team Sys­tem Dz”  Face­book page. The page was removed from Face­book by the fol­low­ing day. ADL applauds Facebook’s response to the hacker group’s effort to exploit its service. 

Last week, as Jews were cel­e­brat­ing the hol­i­day of Sukkot, a hacker group call­ing itself “Team Sys­tem Dz” attacked the web­site of Tem­ple Kol Ami Emmanu-El in South Florida, redi­rect­ing vis­i­tors to a page with mes­sages express­ing sup­port of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).team-system-dz-florida-temple-hackers

Vis­i­tors to the synagogue’s web­site were directed to state­ments in Eng­lish such as “I love you ISIS” and an Ara­bic state­ment promis­ing to “never for­get about the heroes of the Mus­lim Ummah [nation] who sac­ri­ficed their lives for the sake of God,” an appar­ent ref­er­ence to ISIS fight­ers. Vis­i­tors also saw an image of the Star of David crossed out next to the words, “F[ ] You Israel.

This inci­dent is the lat­est in a series of attacks against Jew­ish insti­tu­tional web­sites car­ried out by groups appar­ently based in the Mid­dle East and North Africa. While past hack­ing efforts against Jew­ish insti­tu­tions have focused on the Israeli Pales­tin­ian con­flict, more recent attacks against Jew­ish and non-Jewish tar­gets are being car­ried out in the name of ISIS.

“Team Sys­tem Dz” claimed credit for and bragged about its “hacks of Jew­ish web­sites espe­cially the web­site of the Miami tem­ple” on its Face­book page. The claim of credit noted that the attack “coin­cided with the time of one of the Jew­ish cel­e­bra­tions [and] cre­ated a big noise on media sites.” The group’s Face­book page also claims to have tar­geted other web­sites, includ­ing other Jew­ish and Israeli web­sites around the world.

Yes­ter­day the group threat­ened addi­tional attacks against Amer­i­can and Israeli web­sites. “…we will spend all the time for a mas­sive num­ber of attacks on Amer­i­can and Israeli web­sites, with God’s will they will be hacked. Curse upon Amer­ica and Israel.”

The group appears to be based in Alge­ria; its Face­book pro­file cover image includes the phrase “Proud to be Alger­ian” and other posts fea­ture Alger­ian flags and sym­bols. The “Dz” in the group’s name seems to be a ref­er­ence to the inter­net domain des­ig­na­tion for Alge­ria. Fur­ther­more, most announce­ments on the page are writ­ten in the Alger­ian Ara­bic dialect.

In addi­tion to “Team Sys­tem Dz,” the name “Jor­dan Earth­quake” in Ara­bic was also listed on the page that the temple’s vis­i­tors were redi­rected to.  “Jor­dan Earth­quake” appears to be a hacker closely affil­i­ated with “Team Sys­tem Dz.” Var­i­ous posts on the group’s Face­book page indi­cate that “Jor­dan Earth­quake” is a part­ner in sev­eral of its hack­ing operations.

The “Team Sys­tem Dz” Face­book page also con­tains mate­ri­als pre­pared by the media bureau of ISIS. The group’s Twit­ter han­dle uses sev­eral ISIS-related hash­tags and includes links to many media accounts about the temple’s website’s hacking.

Jew­ish web­sites in the U.S. have become a com­mon tar­get for hacker groups in the Arab and Mus­lim world. Below is a sam­pling of attacks launched by var­i­ous hacker groups against Jew­ish insti­tu­tions in the U.S. in the past few years.

  • In July 2014, The Moroc­can Islamic Union-mail hacker group claimed respon­si­bil­ity for van­dal­iz­ing the web­sites of Jew­ish con­gre­ga­tions in Penn­syl­va­nia and Hous­ton with mes­sages in sup­port of Gaza.
  • In Decem­ber 2013, the Tunisia based group, Fal­laga, hacked the web­site of the Missouri-based Jew­ish Radio.
  • In July 2013, the web­site of a Jew­ish com­mu­nal high school pro­gram in upstate New York was hacked by a mem­ber of the Gaza Hack­ers Team. The web­site was defaced with anti-Israel messages.
  • In Decem­ber 2012, the Bangladesh Cyber Army hacker group tar­geted the web­site of a Tem­ple in Omaha and posted images depict­ing what the group called “Israel killing children.”

Other hacker groups like aljyyosh (“the armies” in Ara­bic) claim to have hacked into per­sonal infor­ma­tion belong­ing to Amer­i­can Jews and Israelis and pro­vided instruc­tions on how to hack into such per­sonal infor­ma­tion on their var­i­ous online forums.

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