As violence between Israel and Palestinian militants continues to escalate, new fronts of digital warfare are being declared in cyberspace.
Reuters' Steven Scheer reports that Israeli government websites have been bombarded by more than 44 million hacking attempts since Israel began its air strikes last week. Defense-related websites have been the biggest targets, while 10 million attempts have been made on Israeli President Shimon Peres's website, 7 million on the Foreign Ministry and 3 million on the prime minister's website.
"The war is taking
place on three fronts. The first is physical, the second is on the world
of social networks and the third is cyber," said Carmela Avner,
Israel's chief information officer, according to Reuters.
Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said that one hacking attempt succeeded in taking down one site, which he declined to name, but it was back online within 10 minutes.
According to a ministry spokesman, most cyberattacks have come from within Israeli and Palestinian territories, but some have come from around the world.
On Friday, international hacking collective Anonymous published a list of Israeli websites it had taken down or defaced. Though all sites have returned to normal, many had their homepages temporarily replaced with pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas messages.
Anonymous started their #OpIsrael campaign in solidarity with Palestine after Israel "crossed a line in the sand" by threatening to sever all Internet and telecommunications in and out of Gaza.
However, both sides in the conflict have embraced social media as a means to spread their message and document the turmoil. The Israeli Defense Force is quite active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram while Palestinian militants are primarily active on Twitter.