It was supposed to be Anonymous’s glorious followup to #OpIsrael, but a scheduled May 7 “attack day” for Operation USA turned out to be a flop. Security experts prepared themselves for massive denial of service (DDOS) attacks, overwhelming banking, government and business sites with a flood of traffic. And Israeli “white hat” hackers were ready to lend a hand to deflect attacks on American sites, or to counter-attack sites in countries where the attacks originated.
According to a message posted several weeks ago on a hacker-oriented website, #OpUSA was supposed to surpass #OpIsrael in its “destructiveness,” as it was time for some “payback for American crimes. America you have committed multiple war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and recently you have committed war crimes in your own country. You have killed hundreds of innocent children and families with drones, guns, and now bombs. America you have hit thousands of people where it hurts them, now it is our time for our Lulz. For this you shall pay.”
Accompanying the message was a long list of sites Anonymous claimed were defaced or DDOSed during #OpIsrael.
But May 7 came and went, with nary a DDOS or scripting attack — or at least, no more than usual. The Emergency Response Team of Israeli tech company RadWare issued warnings to clients several days before the scheduled attack. “Similar to the Israeli web site attacks, numerous Anonymous and several other cyber hacking groups have announced their participation in the upcoming attack campaign. The most noteworthy, although not yet confirmed, is the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam cyber fighters which are believed to be responsible for the recent attacks on American banks and financial institutions.” The warning noted four methods the hackers were expected to try to attack sites.
“We will now wipe you off the cyber map,” the message said. But, according to a roundup in Information Week, “the OpUSA attacks appeared to be targeting low-level — and possibly random — sites in the United States and abroad, arguably causing little damage.” The groups also claimed to have attacked Israeli sites, but there were no reports of higher than usual hacking activity in Israel, either.
It wasn’t clear why #OpUSA was such a failure, but according to pro-Israel hacktivists, one important reason may have been the failure of hackers to cause substantial damage to Israel during last month’s major hack operation against Israeli sites.
Meanwhile, Israeli hackers promised to fight alongside American cyber-defenders, if the need should arise. The Israel Elite Hacker team, formed in the wake of #OpIsrael, has been active since that mostly-unsuccessful operation, and reports daily on its Twitter feed of new sites in the Arab and Muslim world that it has hacked. “This is a message from the Jewish Nation to our friends in the #USA,” the group said. “Although we have cowards for leaders, we take care of our friends!” The Israeli hacker team was at the disposal of any American hacker group that wanted to fight back against the Anonymous hackers during #OpUSA.
In the end, the help wasn’t needed — but, said the Israeli team, assistance would be available if and when it was needed.