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December 2, 2014

Hackers Post Anti-Semitism On U.S. Universities’ Websites

Update — 12/04/14: ADL alerted Face­book about the “AnonG­host Team” page. The page has been removed. 

The hacker group AnonGhost Team claimed responsibility for the hacking of several American universities’ websites, including those of Portland State University, Utah State University, Olin College of Engineering, Stanford University, Washington University in St. Louis and other educational institutions in the U.S.anon-ghost-hack

The hackings redirected website visitors either to pages playing a recording of the Quran and featuring a message in English that starts with an anti-Semitic pro-terror statement, “Death to All Jews…Viva Hamas, Qassam” or to a page featuring anti-Israel images and playing a pro-Qassam anti-Semitic song with the lyrics, “Teach the son of the Jewish woman how many times we will conquer him.”

These hackings represent part of a growing phenomenon of hacker groups directing website visitors to anti-Semitic and anti-Israel messages.

The AnonGhost Team announced these hackings on their social media platforms and also posted several statements claiming responsibility for the hacking of a number of other websites in the United States, the UK and other parts of the world.

AnonGhost includes a number of hackers, mostly from North Africa, who are active in targeting Israeli and Jewish websites and express support for terror groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS) and Hamas. In the past, group members were among the active participants in an organized campaign to launch cyber-attacks against Israel known as OpIsrael.

The group also claimed that earlier this year it hacked several Jewish institutions’ websites, including those of the Columbia Jewish Congregation, the Jewish Community Action, Jewish People Around the World and several others.

A hacker calling himself Muritania Attacker appears to lead the AnonGhost Team. Muritania Attacker is a self-described anti-Semite, writing on Twitter on November 26 that “I am proud to be Anti-semitic , Death To All Jews ! [sic].” In June 2014, Muritania Attacker was quoted in an online interview describing the hackers in the AnonGhost Team as “14 years to 35 years old” and added “they are well educated , and they all go to school … they are not brainwashed they know the truth.”

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October 22, 2014

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 14, 2014

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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