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April 2, 2015

Hackers Directly Threaten Individual Israeli Citizens

As hackers proceed with OpIsrael, an annual anti-Israel cyber-attack campaign, AnonGhost, a prominent hacker group with an Islamic extremist agenda claims that they are sending some Israeli citizens threatening messages via various messaging apps including Facebook and WhatsApp. These messages include threats of violence, vile language, and anti-Semitism.anonghost-opisrael

While these claims remain unconfirmed, AnonGhost claims it acquired a large amount of personal information about Israelis including phone numbers and Facebook accounts. The group distributed a list of more than two hundred Israeli phone numbers supposedly associated with WhatsApp accounts and promised that there are more numbers to be released on April 7, the official start date of OpIsrael. Anonymous hackers have also shared the list of WhatsApp contacts obtained by AnonGhost on their social media platforms.

Hackers have also shared what appear to be images of threatening messages they sent to Israeli citizens using Whatsapp, including “All your Private confidential details are in our hands, including your phone number/Your Home….we will kill you all of the Jews/Israelian.[sic].”

Other images show that hackers supposedly have made phone calls to threaten Israelis using the free calling feature on WhatsApp. It is unclear at this point what was said during the calls, but supposed screenshots of active WhatsApp calls indicate that this most likely is another tactic to intimidate Israelis.

Muhammed Nazmi (aka DonNazmi), one of the leaders of AnonGhost, posted images of what appear to be samples of messages he sent to Israelis. According to one  image, he initiated a conversation with an Israeli and once the Israeli responded, Nazmi sent a threatening message which included an image of an ISIS fighter with the caption, “We are coming O Jews to kill you.” Under the image, a message reads, “I am Donnazmi[blurred] from AnonGhost Team. Send This Msg to your GOV Israel you better get ready to be prepared #opIsrael 07/04/2015 is coming.”

Another image posted by Nazmi shows a message that includes what appears to be a personal family picture sent to a father with his children circled in red and a caption that reads, “I’ll stick a knife in their throats.”

Other hackers claimed that they hacked into Facebook chats with Israelis and posted images of conversations in which they injected comments such as “F**K Israel.”

As this campaign against continues, more Israelis will likely have to deal with such alarming messages.

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March 31, 2015

Rival Hackers Overcome Differences For Anti-Israel Cyber Campaign

Update — 4/2/15: For more information on OpIsrael, please see Hackers Directly Threaten Individual Israeli Citizens.

What has become an annual cyber campaign against Israel, “OpIsrael” – which coincided with Holocaust Remembrance Day in previous years – is once again taking place this year; this time, by a broader coalition of hackers than ever before.AnonGhost OpIsrael 2015

In light of the uptick in attacks against Jewish institutional websites in the U.S. by international hacking groups over the past few years, both Israeli and Jewish websites worldwide are expected to be targets of the cyber campaign.

In 2014, “OpIsrael” was primarily led by an Arab sub-division of Anonymous, which called for a cyber-attack against Israel on Holo­caust Remem­brance Day, threat­ening to launch “elec­tronic attacks against as many Israeli web­sites as pos­si­ble.” The group also threat­ened Israeli cit­i­zens: “Your credit cards, your bank accounts, your servers … are ALL in a danger!” In 2013, the group called for a similar campaign timed with Holo­caust Remem­brance Day to “wipe Israel off the Internet.”

This year, the Arab sub-division of Anonymous, in one of the videos it posted on YouTube, described “OpIsrael,” as an “Electronic Holocaust.”

There are strong indications, however, that AnonGhost, a prominent hacker group known for targeting Jewish and American websites, is seeking to replace Anonymous in spearheading “OpIsrael.”

For example, earlier this month, AnonGhost launched and promoted software enabling users to conduct cyber-attacks against Israeli (and other) targets. The software appears to enable users to initiate denial of service (DOS) attacks. AnonGhost has already claimed responsibility for the hacking of several Israeli websites in the past week in the lead up to “OpIsrael.”

On March 31, AnonGhost members claimed that they started messaging Israeli citizens with warnings about OpIsrael. The threatening messages included an image of an ISIS fighter with the caption, “We are coming O Jews to kill you.” Under the image, AnonGhost members introduce themselves and ask the recipients to deliver the warning to the Israeli government.

An image of the threatening message sent to Israeli citizens featuring an ISIS fighter

An image of the threatening message sent to Israeli citizens featuring an ISIS fighter

By injecting itself into “OpIsrael,” AnonGhost may take the campaign into a more extreme direction. For example, AnonGhost has been unambiguous about supporting ISIS and has carried out hacks on its behalf. This activity differs from the Anonymous collective, which has launched cyber-campaigns to counter ISIS’ online presence. In January 2015, for example, theylaunched a campaign against Jihadist websites titled OpCharlieHebdo in response to terrorist attacks in France.

There are indications that AnonGhost and the broader Anonymous collective have even engaged in a cyber-conflict against each other; Mauritania Attacker, the ostensible leader of AnonGhost, claims to have hacked a group of Anonymous members known as “Anonymous Squad No.035,” the Serbian sub-division of Anonymous.Anonymous OpIsrael 2015

The apparent conflict between AnonGhost and the Anonymous collective, however, does not seem to have prevented them both from participating in this year’s “OpIsrael.” Opposition to Israel seems to be a common cause.

It is important to note that ADL is currently unaware of any specific cyber threat to the American Jewish community. Nevertheless, we are urging Jewish communities to revisit and reassess their cyber-security plans, measures, and procedures.

Related Information:

ADL Alerts U.S. Synagogues to Protect Against Online Hackers

ISIS Establishes A Cyber-Alliance With Anti-Israel Hackers

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

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March 26, 2015

ISIS Cyber Unit Announces More Hacks

Hacker(s) identifying as “ISIS cyber army” claimed responsibility for hacking fifty-one American websites on March 24.

Screenshot of the defaced websites

Screenshot of the defaced websites

Each of the hacked websites was defaced with the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a statement that the website was “Hacked by Islamic State [sic],” and an e-mail address for the ISIS cyber army, the unit believed to be behind the cyber activities of ISIS. In the past, the ISIS cyber unit  claimed responsibility for involvement in a series of attacks against a number of Israeli websites.

The recent ISIS cyber-attack targeted a variety of websites, ranging from simple online retail stores to forums to help pregnant women—all websites perceived to be technically vulnerable.While the attack does not show a high level of technical capabilities by ISIS, it demonstrates their commitment to engaging directly in cyber warfare.

Tweet from ISIS Cyber Army: "...message to the dog of the Jews, #Obama"

Tweet from ISIS Cyber Army: “…message to the dog of the Jews, #Obama”

According to a tweet by the ISIS_cyberarmy Twitter account , the recent cyber-attackwas a message to “the dog of the Jews, Obama.” ISIS and its supporters have regularly referred to President Obama as a “mule of the Jews,” and the phrase “dog of the Jews” may be a variant of this.

The ISIS_cyberarmy Twitter account, which appears to have been suspended as of March 25, was previously followed by more than a thousand ISIS supporters.The account published the urls of the hacked websites and linked to a statement on justpaste.it, a file-sharing website regularly used by ISIS and its supporters to post information, which also included the list of hacked websites and the seal of what appears to be the ISIS cyber army. The statement on justpaste.it started with an Islamic prayer in Arabic and included the seal of the ISIS cyber army.

Recordings showing the defaced websites were also posted on Aljyyosh (“the armies” in Ara­bic), an online forum for Arab hackers, which in the past has been a hub for anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hackers. The videos show the hacked websites defaced with ISIS flags and an e-mail address of the ISIS cyber army.

In the past, several prominent hacker groups launched cyber-attacks in support of ISIS, but recently ISIS escalated its cyber activity by claiming direct responsibility for hacking personal information of 100 American military personnel and publishing the information on a “hit list.” These hackings are the latest example of what appears to be direct activity by ISIS’s cyber unit.Earlier this year, social media accounts of the U.S. military’s Central Command were hacked by a group that claimed to be acting in support of ISIS.

This capability to engage in cyber-attacks may be a reflection of ISIS’s calls for support from individuals with various skills, from media experts to doctors, to join and contribute to the group and its territory however they can.

The tactic of hacking U.S. websites may also be related to ISIS’s calls for small-scale and lone-wolf attacks against the U.S. and its interests. In the past, ISIS has recruited outside hackers and hacking groups to undertake such cyber-attacks on its behalf.

Promoting the hackings of American websites with anti-Semitic language demonstrates how ISIS’s anti-Semitic sentiment extends into its subdivisions, including its cyber arm. Like other Islamic extremist terror groups, ISIS has been known to use anti-Semitism to appeal to followers.

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