Jan 5, 2009 : Gaza Conflict Heats Up Online

Jan 5, 2009 - More than 400 Palestinians are expected to have been killed since raids on the Gaza Strip began last week in retaliation against anti-Isreali rocket attacks, however, a number of prominent Israeli websites have also become casualties of the conflict, having been defaced by online militants.

The more than 50-year-old conflict between Israel and those displaced took a new turn as hackers defaced Ynetnews.com, the website of an Israeli daily newspaper known for its pro-Zionist slant. Instead of its usual content, the website showed a history of the takeover of Palestinian land by Zionist settlers beginning in 1946, according to Iranian news network Press TV and other news outlets.

According to University of Alabama at Birmingham computer forensics research director Gary Warner, more than 300 Israeli websites were defaced in a period of 48 hours on the weekend. "As soon as Israel started bombing Gaza we began to look for signs of a cyber response," Warner said in a statement. "And we found it in the form of more than 300 Israeli websites that have been defaced with anti-Israeli and anti-US messages."

Warner said, however, this type of online propaganda is nothing new. "The original cyber propaganda war was launched by Chinese hackers in May 2001 after the collision of a Chinese fighter jet with a US Navy plane. Tens of thousands of US websites were defaced by Chinese hackers blaming the US for the incident."

Radical Muslim hackers, however, have only recently begun using hacking to spread their messages, beginning with the defacement of Danish and American websites in February 2006 after the publication of cartoons about the prophet Muhammad. Defacements were again reported [...]

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