Israel Hits Back At Hamas Cyber Attack With Airstrike

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Ultimate cyber defence? Israeli warplanes stop attempted Hamas cyber attack, with airstrike that ‘removed’ its HQ

Israel has carried out a military airstrike in response to an attempted cyber attack launched by terrorist group Hamas at the weekend.

It is thought to be the first time that a nation-state has retaliated with physical military action in real time against a cyber attack.

But an airstrike should come as no surprise. Ever since 2011 the United States for example said it reserved the right to retaliate with military force against a cyber attack from a hostile state.

Israel Palestine, Shutterstock - © ruskpp


Cyber defence

News that Israel had used warplanes against cyber attackers came after the Israel Defense Force (IDF) tweeted the news.

“We thwarted an attempted Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli targets,” the IDF tweeted. “Following our successful cyber defensive operation, we targeted a building where the Hamas cyber operatives work. HamasCyberHQ.exe has been removed.”

At the weekend there had been a flurry of attacks between Hamas and the IDF.

Hamas reportedly fired more than 600 rockets into Israel, killing four people and injuring dozens.

The IDF carried out its own strikes against hundreds of what it characterised as military targets, with at least 27 Palestinians reportedly killed.

This included the airstrike against the cyber operation of Hamas, apparently housed in a building in the Gaza Strip.

A video said to be of the airstrike can be found here.

The Hamas cyber attack operation was reportedly not sophisticated and there is no news on what targets inside Israel were targetted.

Cyber warfare

The news that Israel has carried out a military strike against hackers is a noteworthy development in the cyber security landscape.

Last year President Donald Trump reportedly relaxed the complex guidelines that have to be followed if the United States were to launch a cyber attack against a rogue nation.

All of this comes amid concern in Washington and the West that Russia is no longer concerned about its hacking activities remaining covert.

The UK has also been beefing up its cyber operations.

Indeed, the UK has more than doubled the number of offensive cyber-capabilities in recent years, as GCHQ ramped up its ability to hit back at those launching cyber-attacks against this country.

In April 2018 the UK made a rare public admission that it had carried out a cyber offensive against the Islamic State terrorist group.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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