Hacking group continues to target Israeli websites; PM’s Facebook briefly taken over

Anonymous Sudan says it is attacking Israel over its ‘celebration of the occupation of Palestine’

A screenshot shared by Channel 12 news of an apparent hack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Facebook page, April 26, 2023. (Screenshot used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
A screenshot shared by Channel 12 news of an apparent hack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Facebook page, April 26, 2023. (Screenshot used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A hacking group on Wednesday continued its string of attempts to break into Israeli online targets, saying it was targeting the Jewish state in particular on its Independence Day.

The group, which goes by “Anonymous Sudan,” posted claims on Telegram that it had hacked a range of Israeli news outlets, government sites and political webpages.

On Wednesday evening Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Facebook page was briefly hacked and filled with Quranic verses but was quickly returned to normal. Anonymous Sudan claimed to have hacked the premier’s official website, though it may have been referring to the Facebook page.

It was not immediately clear if the Facebook hack was linked to Anonymous Sudan.

Anonymous Sudan said Wednesday that it would be targeting solely Israeli sites throughout the day: “Today we will focus entirely on Israel because of their celebration of the occupation of Palestine,” it wrote on Telegram.

Earlier in the day, it claimed to bring down the websites of two Israeli ports, as well as a range of news sites, and the sites for the Mossad spy agency and the Shin Bet security agency. All of the sites appeared to be working normally as of Wednesday evening.

Most of the attacks used a DDoS or denial of access method, considered to be a fairly rudimentary tool that overwhelms a site’s servers with requests, but does not compromise any information hosted on the site.

Wednesday’s purported activity follows weeks of Anonymous Sudan targeting Israeli websites, including on Monday when it claimed to have taken down the National Insurance Institute website and that of the Mossad spy agency. The NII confirmed the attempted hack but denied it brought down its site. Mossad did not publicly respond to the claim, though it rarely issues any public statements.

Earlier this month, Anonymous Sudan carried out a briefly successful attack against Israel’s national mail service and major banks. Those attacks coincided with the marking of Quds Day, an Iran-promoted event featuring virulently anti-Israel marches and rallies in Tehran and elsewhere.

In recent months, Anonymous Sudan has claimed several brief attacks on government services, healthcare and other operations in European countries. Some experts have speculated it may be linked to Russia’s Killnet hacking group rather than Sudan.

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