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Pro-Palestinian hackers steal info on hundreds of thousands of Israeli students

Malaysian hacking group calling itself DragonForce distributes information on Telegram app, including names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Screen capture of a Malaysian website annoucing the hack of a database containing the details of hundreds of thousands of Israeli students in higher education institutues. (DragaonForce)
Screen capture of a Malaysian website annoucing the hack of a database containing the details of hundreds of thousands of Israeli students in higher education institutues. (DragaonForce)

Pro-Palestinian hackers have stolen the personal information of hundreds of thousands of Israeli students and have begun leaking it online, including names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and home addresses.

The cyberattack was announced by a group calling itself DragonForce Malaysia in a post to its website. In a message posted to a forum on the site, the group called on hackers, human rights organizations, and activists to campaign against Israel, which it repeatedly referred to as “Israhell.”

Student details were at first shared on Malaysian groups using the Telegram app.

The hackers tied the leak to Israel’s recent 11 days of fighting with terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Malaysian hackers behind the data breach apparently scooped information from the website of AcadeMe, one of the largest recruitment networks in the country for students and graduates seeking work. AcadeMe works with leading higher education institutes including Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Tel Aviv University, the Open University, Bar-Ilan University, the Technion, and the University of Haifa as well as many colleges.

Cybersecurity expert May Brooks-Kempler, who administers the Think Cyber Safe group on Facebook, is investigating the extent of the hack. Details of some 280,000 students from 2014 to the present were leaked along with some 100,000 email addresses, Brooks-Kempler found.

She warned that the details could be used in cyberattacks focused on those who signed up to AcadeMe and advised users to change passwords and be alert to any suspicious emails, text messages or phone calls they may receive.

In December last year a hacking group calling itself Black Shadow broke into the Shirbit insurance firm stealing client details and demanding a ransom or it would publish the data to the internet. The company refused to pay and the hackers later said they had sold the information on the dark web.

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