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September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘anonymous’

Hacked: Anonymous Falsely Outed Thousands of Arabs as ‘Collaborators’

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Riad Yasmina, who writes for the Dubai-based website ITP, announced, back on April 7, that the group ‘Anonymous’ had managed to get a list containing the names of 37 thousand Mossad agents deployed around the world, and has disseminated the same list to many like-minded Internet websites for publication.

You may recall that Anonymous announced the day before that it started its major campaign to wipe Israel off the internet and has hit a large number of Websites belonging to the Israeli government. The whole thing lasted a few hours, causing some discomfort to users, but Israel’s Internet providers were able to block the attack handily and the websites were back online within minutes, give or take a half hour.

Yasmina celebrated this, announcing that the Anonymous group also “gained access to credit cards belonging to Israelis, and disabled many of the major sites of Israeli companies and banks.”

Why she would be so delighted that the credit card information of innocent civilians be hacked I’m not so sure, but in reality none of that took place in any significant measure, according to many news sources.

But the best part of this entire article, comes at the end:

“Correction of the news: Unfortunately, after we published this news, we recently received numerous complaints from our brothers the Palestinian Arabs inside the 1948 borders, including from individuals who are most hostile to the Zionist entity, saying that their names were mentioned in the list (of collaborators). After checking to make sure with several sources regarding the list and its credibility, we discovered that it is false and has nothing to do with Mossad agents. The names may have been collected for other reasons, and perhaps leaked from any of the branches of the Israeli security.

“We are sorry if we caused any harm with this misleading information, it was because all of us took pleasure in the victory when we published the list, and we promise not to do it again.”

Ali Abunimah, Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada, sworn ally to any Jew hater in the cosmos, related the following tale of horror:

M. arrived at work last Friday morning in a city in the north of present-day Israel. As she walked in, one of her colleagues approached her with a look of concern and asked her to step outside. “Your name is on a list of Mossad agents,” M. recalls the colleague saying.

“‘Then congratulate me,’ I said, thinking this was all a strange joke,” M. recalls responding.

But then M. found that many other people at her workplace were talking about a list, a file obtained by hackers and circulated on social media purporting to contain the names of agents of Israel’s notorious spy and assassination agency Mossad.

The vast majority of names on the list are Hebrew names of Israelis.

“I looked at the list, it had my name on it, my ID number and other details. By the end of the day everyone knew about it and was talking about it.”

M., however, is a Palestinian, a citizen of Israel, with an Arabic name – although like all the other names on the list her name was written in the Hebrew alphabet. She was stunned.

The false accusation or suspicion of being an Israeli agent can be absolutely devastating for any Palestinian.

The Electronic Intifada was able to independently verify the identity of M. Because of the serious implications for her and her family, M. agreed to speak to The Electronic Intifada on condition that we not use her real name or initials or identify the city where she lives.

“After work I went home and started to google this list and I was horrified by what I found,” M. said. “It was everywhere.”

M. doesn’t know how she got on the list but looking at it she thinks that the information could come from the database of a store’s loyalty card program or an online commerce site that was hacked into. “I saw the names of many companies as well as individuals on the list, including shoe stores and baby clothing stores.”

M. is not the only one affected in the Palestinian community. “My dad’s cousin is on the list as well, among many other people I know,” she said.

Panet, a website for Israeli Arabs, warned its readers that the list was fake, adding its own tale of horror:

The Arab resident of one of the villages in the Upper Galilee, clicked to news site Panorama, to discover his name in the list of Mossad agents. Sparking surprise and dismay, he said in an interview: “I was shocked after I noticed that my name and my details appear in the list of Mossad agents, and to my even greater surprise and dismay, some people I have dealt with were listed, too. This is pure fabrication and extremely dangerous.”

Sure it’s dangerous, because Arabs understand that in their society folks regularly reverse the order of asking questions and shooting.

According to Ali Abunimah, On Friday, March 22, the English-language account for The Red Hack, a group of Turkish activist hackers, announced that it would be releasing “a large file regarding Israel.”

Meanwhile, another the group Sector 404 was launching a denial of service attack on the Mossad’s public website (lots of exciting job opportunities there, by the way, including for all of you language majors).

The Red Hack announced that the list it had acquired included the personal information of 35,000 Israeli officials — and then anti-Israel bloggers and The Red Hack themselves were goading each other to make more ambitious claims, “until finally they were 35,000 Mossad agents,” writes Abunimah.

Abuminah traced the list (on a PDF file) to GaZa HaCHeR, who published it in late November, 2012. It turns out to be a list of 35,000 names, phone numbers, addresses and emails of Israeli customers of imported goods.

“All the names are in Hebrew, but are accompanied by email addresses and phone numbers in Latin characters giving it all an air of authenticity,” explains Abunimah, adding: “People who don’t speak Hebrew – almost certainly the vast majority of people circulating the list – would not have noticed that many of the names were those of businesses or Palestinians or that there was other information that points to this being a list of customers and not a list of government personnel.”

 

The Mystical Meanings of the Anonymous Hacking Attacks

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Much can be said about a name. Especially about a name which isn’t really a name at all. Whereas the heroes of Jewish history have had volumes written about them, sometimes it is those untold stories that seem the most compelling. Such was the case during the Purim saga (as related in the Book of Esther), where God’s name was not mentioned explicitly even once in the megillah.

Perhaps then it would be much better for all of us to be called anonymous? Maybe we should all keep our secret identities of ourselves? To the world we are Clark Kent, but secretly we really have untold super-powers.

Indeed, in Jewish law, sometimes it is most praiseworthy to do things anonymously. For instance, when giving tzedakah (charity), it is virtuous to do so discreetly so as not to embarrass the recipient. In general, those mitzvot (commandments and good deeds) done unnoticed, seem to have a greater potential to be carried out altruistically.

So on the surface, naming your activities “anonymous” doesn’t seem intrinsically wrong. In fact, it could be something most virtuous.

Two Types of Anonymous

Returning to the Purim saga, we can observe two representations of the “anonymous” concept. But as is the nature of most Purim related discussions, they tend to reside on opposite sides of the spectrum. On the good side, as mentioned, is the “anonymous” nature that God played during the story. Before the miracle of Purim, God Himself “hid His face” from Israel. By initially hiding one’s true identity, pretending to be someone else, the innermost essence of one’s true identity becomes revealed. On Purim we reach the level of the “unknowable head” (“the head that does not know itself nor is known to others”), the state of complete existential hidden-ness of self from self, for the sake of “giving birth” to one’s ultimate self anew.

It is clear, whether they consciously realize it or not, that this is the attraction behind the Anonymous group name and logo. But the source for the attraction to this concept doesn’t jive well with some or all of their activities. As mentioned, the purpose of this first type of anonymous is to ultimately benefit the world with a greater state of revelation. Individually, this means being able to reveal your secret identity in public; to “give birth” to your superhero self anew. On the macro level, this means making the name of God explicit from within a state of concealment. For out of the darkness of their trial, Mordechai, Esther and the entire Jewish people witnessed and revealed great Divine light to the world.

So if “anonymous” is to be capitalized, the best reason would be to reference the word to the “hidden face” state of God Himself during the exile of the Jewish people.

Above Nature

While it is true that some of the activities seem (at least on the surface) to present signs of altruism, many other activities are not mitzvot or good deeds at all. Such was the case with their #OpIsrael April 7th campaign timed to coincide with Holocaust Remembrance Day. They had promised to “launch a coordinated, massive cyber attack on Israeli targets with the intent of erasing Israel from the internet.”

The timing and wording of their campaign was reminiscent of the plot of the wicked Haman during Purim “to destroy, kill and annihilate all Jews, from young to old, infants and women, on a single day, on the 13th day of the 12th month, the month of Adar.”

While the date of the 13th of Adar was selected by drawing lots (the name “purim” is Persian for “lots”), Haman was very happy with the results. Adar was a month without Jewish holidays. Also the 7th of Adar was the day when the great leader of Israel, Moses, passed away. What he failed to realize, however, was that the 7th of Adar was also the day when Moses was born. Such began the reversal of fortune that led to Haman and his sons being hanged on the gallows that he himself built.

It is explained at length in Hassidut, how the motivation for casting lots is the drive to reach a place above choice. Instead of choosing the month and date, he was attempting to reach a state above nature and reason. So too seems the case with this campaign from this formless hactivist group. While the organizers realize (in one way or another) that the God of Israel protects His children, they are hoping that this date is similar to the “month without holidays” of the Purim story. Whereas Haman realized that the God of Israel protects His children when they are observing the festivals, he had hoped this the 13th of Adar would be different. Additionally, the timing of this campaign prior to the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day on the 28th of Nissan, seems to relate to Haman’s happiness at knowing that Moses passed away in Adar.

But likely unbeknownst to them, the 28th of Nissan, in some ways, is the most auspicious time of the year to counter and transform the threats and trials leveled against the Jewish people, and reveal our super-powers. This is the day when the Lubavitcher Rebbe handed over the task of bringing mashiach to us.

Identity Crisis

So who is Anonymous? There are two extremes. There are those well-meaning individuals, who are trying to make a difference in the world for the better. Then there are the hate mongers, who are using this cover to carry out their nefarious plans. Unfortunately, one doesn’t need to look far to see the greatest representation of Haman today (Just instead of the Persian Empire, we now call it Iran). So those leading this campaign likely most associate with Iran (whether they presently live there or not).

The other observation is that this and other similar campaigns has left idealist hackers feeling homeless. Increasingly, they are looking for a place they can call home apart from the hate mongers. This explains the recent interest in legitimizing and legalizing certain forms of hactivism.

Virtual Threats

The final lesson from our discussion is that just as this campaign was targeted at cyber or virtual space, the other threats coming out of Iran and others are just as virtual.

Ultimately, the great reversal of fortune will occur, and much like the Purim story where “the Jews experienced light and joy, gladness and honor” [Esther 8:16], the same will occur again speedily in our days.

Author’s note: this submission relied on sources and information from the website inner.org.

#OPIsrael Cyberattack: Hackers Mostly #Fail

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

The Hackers group Anonymous on Saturday night tried to make good on their threats and began to knock down a large number of Israeli websites, including government offices – for a few minutes at least. But mostly it’s more bluster than success.

Anonymous, in collaboration with pro-Palestinian cyber-terrorists initiated an attack on government sites and large organizations in Israel as “revenge” for Israel’s role in the Palestinian conflict, but really its about their Antisemitism.

Among other websites, they knocked down for a brief period of time include the Ministry of Defense’s, and the Ministry of Education’s, the Israeli EPA’s, military-industry’s, and the Central Bureau of Statistics’ websites.

They also took down the Israeli Cancer Association’s website and dozens of small Israeli sites. At some of the sites the hackers left pro-Palestinian messages and loud music.

The El Al website was downed as well, and that is one of the few that actually took a long time to go back online.

Access to some websites have slowed down, presumably due to the massive attacks, but they did not collapse.

Most of the sites returned to full activity after several minutes, a couple after several hours.

In fact, many of the sites the hackers are claiming via Twitter, that they’ve taken down, are actually working fine. Israel has been employing a number of tricks that have kept the cyber attacks at bay.

The Anti-Jewish Hacktivists are also publicizing what they claim are login passwords for various sites.

So far it appears that #OpIsrael is more bluster than success.

 

Israel’s security apparatus was prepared to face the cyber attack took place. There is concern among security experts that the attack, which began Saturday night, will encourage hackers and terrorist organizations around the world to join the “Anonymous” efforts, making it difficult for Israel’s security systems to withstand the pressure.

According to instructions given employees in the Defense Ministry and other outfits, work today might be disrupted in various computerized systems, and there may be some cessation of operations, in order to perform evaluations of incoming attacks.

A senior security official said in a closed forum a few days ago, that intelligence has been gathered against hackers and other entities that may participate in the attack. On Sunday there will be an assessments of the attack, to optimize the defenses and minimize the damage that may disrupt the systems’ activities.

 

On the other side of the fence, WhiteHat Israeli hackers have taken down or hacked a number of anti-Israeli sites in retaliation, including the OpIsrael website where they added facts about Israel and had the site play Hatikvah.

#ZionistHackers Defeating #OpIsrael

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Last week ago I wrote about #OpIsrael the “planned new cyber attack against Israel”. My article ended by noting that “there will be plenty of Israeli geeks looking forward to the challenge – and quite capable of coming out on top”. I also tweeted my article to one of the Iranian backed anti-Israel hacker groups I mentioned and to one of the Anonymous news services. #OpIsrael was tagged as well. So to the anti-Israel hackers, don’t say I didn’t warn you that #OpIsrael was a really bad idea.

Sure enough, as #OpIsrael got underway, the official #OpIsrael site, www.opisrael.com, was hacked and is now playing Hatikvah.

The page was hacked by EhIsR and also contains a 20 point list of arguments in support of Israel (see below). Unlike the simple defacements that have typically targeted Israeli sites, this hack claims to have also destroyed all the data on the targeted server. This makes it a more serious attack, but in EhIsR’s defense  this was effectively an attack on an enemy infrastructure in a war like situation where as the attacks on NGOs and civilian infrastructure are more akin to targeting civilians.

EhIsR is not the only pro-Israel hacker, let’s call them Zionist Hackers, having a field day today. Not all are taking such an ethical approach to choosing their targets.

On the Israeli side as well, some hackers are going after soft targets or sites that for humanitarian reasons should be left out of any online war. As part of the pro-Israel response sites like the Palestinian Authority’s Medical Service website and a commercial site in Egypt have been hacked. A group called ‘Israel Elite Force’ claim to have taken down a range of sites in Pakistan. There are no doubt many more, and the day is still young.

While the Israeli hackers clearly have the technical skills that match or surpass those targeting Israel, the public diplomacy skills are still somewhat lacking.

A 20 point list of reasoned arguments shared in a defacement of a site that will be visited by those seeking to attack Israel, is not likely to convince anyone. Anti-Israel defacements typically use images, often fake or from different conflicts entirely, that display blood, guts, and gore and claim Israel is responsible for it. In other words, they use not just a technical means of sharing a message, but also demonization of Israel and a strong dose of victim-hood to spread their message.

The Zionist hackers like EhIsR are responding not with hate but with reason. It’s a shame that for most of the world such an approach is unlikely to be effective.

A better approach may have been to set off code red sirens and pictures of school children rushing for cover. More effective still, ethically more questionable, would have been a focus on the impact of terrorism. Israel avoids the publication of highly graphic images showing the aftermath of violence. An effort is made to get on with life. Perhaps not sharing this side of the conflict is a mistake. It promotes Israel’s toughness and resilience, but in the international community that simply makes Israel a legitimate target for further abuse.

The message that these Zionist hackers are ultimate projecting is the same message Israel has always gives in conventional warfare. The message says, “we’re tougher than you think, and attacking us is a really bad idea”. It may help security, but more is needed to win hearts and minds. For now though, I’m sure they’re celebrating their success… or at least they will be when they are finally done.

Here are EhIsR arguments:

1. Israel became a nation in 1312 BCE, two thousand years before the rise of Islam.

2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BCE, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.

4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 CE lasted no more than 22 years.

5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

International Hackers to Target Israel on April 7

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

The first news of a planned new cyber attack against Israel , scheduled for April 7, 2013, was announced back on March the 11th, almost a full month earlier. The attack is a face saving effort to renew a campaign from last November, which was nothing less than a miserable failure. The previous campaign saw more than 44 million attacks by Anonymous on Israeli government servers, yet in the end only one server was noticeably impacted, and it just went a little wobbly under the increased load.

Given their past failure, a bit more can be expected from the new attack. The Times of Israel reports that the 100 largest websites in the country, including banks, credit card companies, and communications firms, are said to be targeted. This, of course, is nothing new. These days they are all routinely targeted. My own analysis uncovered a list of more than 1,350 specific targets, including research organizations like NGO-Monitor, human rights organizations like the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and even the Histadrut trades union. The list also includes the Prime Minister’s Office, Finance Ministry, Foreign Ministry, the Judiciary, Health Ministry, Trade Ministry, and the Knesset. In addition to 110 government servers, the list includes 318 academic servers, 582 company websites, and 448 organizations.

Given past experience, the government servers and most of the companies and academic servers would likely stand up to even a severe distributed denial-of-service attack. Such “actions” are becoming almost routine. The real impact will likely be felt by human rights organizations and civil society organizations that rely on cheap, shared hosting and will likely go off line temporarily if they come under attack. The more serious risk, however, comes from the real hackers, rather than these script kiddies. The new attack has a number of named hacker and groups with past reputations listed as supporting it. In fact, this new attack seems to be bringing together more groups than ever before.

More than a year ago, I warned that Iran was impersonating Anonymous in an effort to turn it on Israel. Evidence from Facebook show that a number of specific hacking groups behind the April 7th threat are Iranian backed and some are thought to have Iranian state sponsorship. These groups include the Iranian Cyber Army, Remember Emad (a joint project in Lebanon, with state backing) and Parastoo (which reportedly has ties to IRGC-QF and Hezbollah ). In the case of Parastoo, direct mention is made of psychological warfare and of efforts to advertise the attack in advance with the aim of spreading chaos and pushing Israeli actors into taking preventative action that causes further disruption. Given the timing of this new attack, and questions over what Obama and Netanyahu agreed on during the recent Presidential visit, one has to wonder at the timing of this new attack.

Last year, the FBI arrested several hackers from Anonymous. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III warned at the time that “we should not forget that you want to identify these individuals who are responsible for these crimes, investigate them, prosecute them and put them in jail for a substantial period of time.” He also warned of the use of hackers by terrorists. The U.S. Government would no doubt be very interested in any identification data linked to Anonymous hackers that Israeli authorities are willing to provide.

There will be plenty of Israeli geeks looking forward to the challenge – and quite capable of coming out on top.

Hackers Threatening Organized Cyber Attack

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Anti-Semitic hackers are threatening to “Erase Israel from the Internet” on Sunday, April 7 in an organized campaign to take down Israeli web sites.

Israel is a favorite cyber target of hackers and anti-Semites worldwide, and Israel, for the most part, has managed to repel most of the more serious attacks.

This is also not the first time that “Anonymous” hackers threatened an organized attack to take down Israeli websites from the internet. But the last time they didn’t succeed in taking down anything.

To Be (Anonymous) or Not to Be

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Last Tuesday, CrossCurrents featured an article by Rabbi Yaakov Menken challenging anonymity on the internet.

I find myself mostly in agreement with it. Although I allow people to post anonymously (albeit with at least an alias) I would prefer that people stand by their words and not be afraid of them.
But as Rabbi Menken pointed out there are sometimes repercussions to using your own identity that can harm you professionally, which has nothing to do with standing by your view.
There are some Charedi people who comment anonymously on my blog who are prominent personalities. And their views are almost always among the more intelligent ones. But often they go against conventional wisdom of that community. Had they identified themselves, it could hurt them professionally in their own community. I am not talking about members of the Agudah Moetzes or the like. But they are nevertheless well known Charedim who could be hurt if their identities were to be made known.
I understand that and respect it. But that is different from a rabbinic leader whose very identity is defined by membership to a group that has “Gedolim” in its title. There – anonymity has no place.
The fact is that Rabbi Menken never did defend the anonymous rabbinic personality spoken about by Rabbi Adlerstein in the original post that eventually generated this one. In fact his own silence on the matter actually seems to endorse my own view of the matter. Professional harm was not likely the case with this individual.
When it comes to commenting on a blog being anonymous in your comments is a double edged sword. On the one hand it allows you to say what you really think without suffering any personal consequences.  If truth is the main concern one might think that anonymity is the best way to get it. You can speak your mind without fear. This is the way to know what people really think. There is no holding back or mincing words.
The problem is that there are unintended consequences to that type of candor. Anonymity allows mean-spiritedness and coarseness of language without the slightest care about how that affects the people you are challenging.  It was almost as if there were elements of hatred about the person you are attacking.
Making vile comments instead of arguing on merit may be cathartic. But it is also harmful. Abusive language is harmful not only to the victim of the attack but to the attacker.
Freeing up rage is not a good thing. It also shows a flaw in your character. A flaw that needs to change. Sadly it reveales that there are so many people who are vile and disgusting by nature but hide it in their daily lives. (That they keep it under wraps and hidden is good. But that their nature to be vile and disgusting is not good.)
But isn’t a civilized society all about taming the savage beast in all of us? Civilization (not to mention a Torah Hashkafa) should teach us to hold back these negative impulses and treat every human being with dignity, even when we strongly disagree. That is the kind of person that is respected among peers. When people want to continue to get that kind of respect they do not speak in vile and insulting language. They speak in respectful tones.
But the inner beast in some of us wants to let it all hang out. Anonymity on the internet provides an opportunity.
The desire to insult people you disagree with is an ugly character trait. Those who are predisposed to it would do well to learn to control those impulses and never let them see the light of day.  The best way to do that online is to use your real name when you comment. In that way civil discourse will be furthered. And your own character will continue to be refined.
If one must remain anonymous even for legitimate reasons, they should write their comments as though they were using their real names.
Dovbear - who himself chooses to be anonymous – is a good example of why he shouldn’t be. His writing is sometimes very nasty. A luxury he affords himself because of that anonymity.  While I may agree or disagree with him, I find it very distasteful when he writes that way – and that occasionally it crosses the line of respecting human dignity. I would be willing to bet that this is why he guards his identity so religiously. He does not want people to think of him the way they do about “Dovbear.”
In a very self-serving way he thus tries to actually make an argument for anonymity as a better way of communicating ideas. Anonymity – he says – forces respondents to consider the argument rather than focus on the identity. That would be true if it were not accompanied by the insults that frequently come with anonymous comments.
He makes note of the fact that Rabbi Menken actually misused the knowledge he thought he had gained googling a commenter who used his real name. Rather than focusing on the content of his message he focused on the individual  and used it to discredit him rather than respond to comment. But googling that name produced information about someone else with that name.
Dovbear is right about that. Rabbi Menken was wrong. But that does not diminish his point  about lowering the level of discourse when the comments are made anonymously.
Bottom line for me is that if one wants to argue with me or some of the other commenters, please do it as respectfully as you can. It will generate a far better discourse, make for a lot less hurt feelings, and make you a better person. And it will make my life a lot easier.
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