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Hacktivists Enter Fray Following Hamas Strikes Against Israel

Killnet, Anonymous Sudan, along with other groups, pick up up their Middle East activities as war breaks out.

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Source: Hajrudin Hodzic via Alamy Stock Photo

Cybercrime groups previously focused on the war in Ukraine have quickly shifted their activities toward the Middle East following the Hamas strikes against Israel.

Since hostilities erupted on Oct. 7, reports said more than a dozen threat groups declared their intention to launch disruptive attacks against Israel, Palestine, and their supporters. The perpetrators include Killnet, Anonymous Sudan, Team Insane, Mysterious Team Bangladesh, and Indian Cyber Force.

The Jerusalem Post was downed by a cyberattack, later claimed by Anonymous Sudan. Another threat actor, Sylhet Gang, launched a cyberattack against the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, which also caused operational disruption, according to reports.

The playbook is familiar: Russian hacktivists have launched many attacks related to the war in Ukraine. While hacktivist efforts seem largely like stunts motivated by headlines, there are also instances when these cyberattacks have made a real impact, with cyberattacks mounted against hospitals and other critical infrastructure.

"Given the intricate dynamics of modern warfare, where physical and digital realms are deeply intertwined, dismissing these groups as mere symbols would be an oversight," says Callie Guenther, senior manager of threat research for Critical Start. "Their operations can provide tactical advantages, serve as distractions, or even be used for strategic intelligence gathering. As the Israel-Palestine conflict progresses, the role of Anonymous Sudan and Killnet could become even more pronounced, potentially influencing the trajectory of events on both the ground and in cyberspace."

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