As the conflict in Gaza escalated this week, hacker group Anonymous launched a series of attacks on websites owned by the Israeli military, government and other institutions within Israel.
Since then, the scope of attacks has widened to include the deletion of government and financial databases, and the posting of more than 2,000 email addresses and passwords from an Israeli real estate website.
A series of tweets from @YourAnonNews, a Twitter account associated with the hacktivist group, claimed that databases belonging to Bank Jerusalem and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been deleted. Echoing a famous meme originated from the video game "Zero Wing," the account declared Friday:
A Pastebin post reported that 659 sites with Israeli domains had either been defaced, hit with DDoS attacks or otherwise affected. The Next Web reports that some of the affected sites have since been restored, but the attacks are expected to continue.
Anonymous issued a press release Nov. 15, explaining its solidarity with Gazans. It read in part:
"...[When] the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand. As the former dictator of Egypt Mubarack learned the hard way –- we are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch..."
Another press release refuted claims that Anonymous is a cyber-terrorist organization, a charge that has been leveled against the group by the U.S. National Security Agency, as well as several mainstream media outlets.