A Crime against the Machine

January 28, 2012 by Raffe Gold
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For the last several days Israel has been under constant attack. Our civilians have been targeted, our financial institutions have been disrupted and our airlines have been under malicious assault…writes Raffe Gold.

Raffe Gold

The ‘invasion’ of Israel has made a headline here and there but nothing like we saw in Operation Cast Lead or the Six Day War. Rather these media stories have taken up mere inches of a newspaper or are relegated to specialty websites. The reason for this lack of media exposure is because the attacks have occurred in cyberspace.

It began with OxOmar. The self-proclaimed ‘Saudi National’ hacked into an Israeli website and stole the credit card details of thousands of Israeli citizens. Thus the first salvo in the new Middle East war was fired. It was entirely unprovoked and OxOmar stated that the ‘Jewish lobby’ was smothering his exploits. Over the course of January strikes by OxOmar and other hackers, including by the so called ‘Anonymous Palestine’ (though there is no evidence to suggest that the group is associated with the official Anonymous organization in any way), have taken down the Israel Festival website, Assuta Hospital, El Al and the Tel Aviv stock exchange. They also managed to take down the left-leaning Haaretz website though later apologized for that particular act of warfare.

Not wishing to be outdone a team of Israeli hackers began to strike at various websites within the Arab world. Calling themselves ‘IDF Team’ the group began to target the Saudi stock exchange, the Iranian Ministry of Health, collect Saudi Credit Card information and bring down the Abu Dhabi stock exchange. The group, speaking to various media outlets, has vowed to avenge attacks against Israeli websites by bringing down the sites of Arabian institutions and planting an Israeli flag in some sort of electronic victory. The majority of the attacks are Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that have, so far, done little damage other than to make the websites inaccessible. It appears to be all fun and games. No one has been physically injured, so perhaps this constant game of cyber one up-man-ship is better than Hamas firing rockets at a million sleeping Israelis.

Yet it is incredibly dangerous to act in such a laissez-faire manner. Yes. OxOmar struck first. He struck at a civilian target and whilst I believe that IDF Team has the best of intentions they are criminals and should be prosecuted. Computer hacking is both a domestic and an international crime. INTERPOL, the International Criminal Police Organization, has an entire division devoted to computer crime. This division assists in international operations at the request of the countries. It would be incredibly simple for Israel to lodge a complaint and request that a case file be opened. For Israel to arrest IDF Team would show that they will not allow rogue citizens, even though they think they’re acting in the best interests of the nation, to take vigilante action. Israel, as a state, must categorically reject these hackers and display its willingness to abide by the law.

Early last year Israel set up a National Cyber Command under the auspices of a retired general. The Cyber Command will be involved in thwarting attempts to disrupt government websites and essential services and liaising with local businesses to ensure that their infrastructure is sufficiently protected. With the creation of our Command Israel hedged its bets that eventually the war for her existence would be played out on the cyber battlefield; their assumptions were correct.

The emergence of this new threat, led by individuals or groups of citizens rather than generals under the flag of a nation-state, shows that Israel must pump more money and resources into this field to ensure that her critical infrastructure is sufficiently protected. It must appeal to international bodies, including the governments of Saudi Arabia and whichever other nations these hackers reside in, to arrest those responsible. Israel can no longer be at the mercy of a team of cyber criminals. The tit-for-tat hacking between Israeli and foreign nationals is a dangerous game that could escalate into something much worse. It is best for all countries involved to tell their police and intelligence agencies to work on arresting those within their borders who are illegally hacking websites. This should not be treated as some kind of Zionistic (or pro-Arab) adventure to prove who is tougher but rather it should be within the same category as all hacking adventures: a serious crime.


10 Responses to “A Crime against the Machine”
  1. Michelle says:

    I have seen students in UniMelb and Indonesia for forming the Anti Israel and Western movement. They collaborate with World Muslims Intelligent Body, that attacks their enemies (Israel and the Western ideology and political supporters) in all parts of their life, from physical attacks through invisible attacks i.e employment to strengthen their financial positions and to weaken their enemies financial position, social life, health, science, even the competition in the universities, infiltration from the lowest unit of the societies up to the highest unit of the societies.
    I have seen the changes in Indonesia as the biggest supporter of Palestine along with Egypt (I got their recording from the journalists assisting the Palestine through secret tunnel from Egypt with weapons, food, etc). When I was in High school and studied in Uni for my bachelor degree, as a member in Christian Union, we supported the Israel. However after the infiltration by government people through their SIA (State Intelligent Agency of Indonesia through Extremist muslims reported in their newspapers), the younger generations of Christians in Indonesia had changed from supporting the Israel as the source of Judaism and Christianity to have less solidarity and care to the same Christians and Israelites.

    Even the students in UniMelb, from Muslims background talked openly that the Muslims union also will boicott any one or any countries that support or back up the Israel, and one of the biggest one is Singapore.

    For Anonymous Palestine, their groups of hackers consisted most of Indonesians and Pakistanis etc, had started to do it since long time ago, and they usually did it in other countries to hide their ID, including the FBI website and pentagon website by some Indonesian students in the year 2000, then after that they went away to Australia. So I guess they might hang around Singapore and Australia, and I m not sure for other countries.

  2. Jonathan says:

    The truth lies somewhere between your’s and your detractors comments. If you saw an attack on someone defenseless would you not step in to prevent it or would you be concerned at being labelled a vigilante? If you organized others would you be afraid of becoming a militia?

    When critical systems and the fabric of our way of life are attacked by cyber terrorists; hospitals and airlines does this also require those bystanders able to defend the helpless victim to step in also?

    Legitimate or not the counter threat seems to have served its purpose and the leader of the IDF Team seems to have corralled Israeli hackers from excessively destructive response.

    A knotty problem with no black and white answer but one worth considering.

  3. David says:

    Raffe, You seem to believe in a fantasy world. There is no such thing as an excessive or illegal response from Israelis when under constant attack from the rest of the world, particularly the arab world. Read the history of the amazing Jewish fighters over the last 80 years and maybe then you will understand why no response can be construed as illegal under the Jewish laws of “survival”.

    • Raffe says:


      I am well versed in the tales of Israeli heroes both on and off the battlefield. In my teens I devoured every book and website possible about Israel’s history of overcoming the odds. The War of Independence, the Six Day War, the Entebbe Raid and Operation Spring of Youth are all etched into my memory and I can easily talk about them at length whilst making the comparison that we are seeing a modern David v Goliath situation.

      However to say that ‘there is no such thing as an illegal or excessive response’ is patently wrong Sir and I believe that the majority of Israelis would disagree with you. The first thing that young Israeli soldiers are taught is the IDF Code of Ethics on the Battlefield; the ‘purity of arms’. They are taught the story of the young Palmach commandos who spared the life of a sheep herder even to the determent of their own lives, they are taught that there are appropriate weapons for appropriate jobs and they are taught that all lives are sacred. To say that there is no such thing as an excessive or illegal response flies into the face of everything that they believe in. Israel maintains an incredibly strong moral code because there are excessive and illegal responses (and we have seen countries such as Russia or the majority of the Arab world undertake such illegal responses) yet Israel forces itself to abide by the rules of law when planning and launching operations.

      Furthermore whenever Israeli soldiers are seen to overstep their bounds they are arrested and jailed for their crimes. Israel would not allow its country to act under the belief that there is no such thing as an illegal response because such an attitude would fly into the face of everything that Israelis believe in.

      • David says:

        Raffe, I refer you to the first sentence of my last reply. Well may you believe what you are fed by the leftist press, however you continue to fantasize if you believe that this is the way it is in reality in the 21st century.

  4. David says:

    Raffe, I agree with what you’re saying. Israel is surrounded by enemies, but it is up to the STATE, and not individuals acting like vigilantes, to defend itself from, or attack those enemies. While their motives might have been altruistic and for the benefit of Israel, this group of Israeli hackers has acted against the laws of the nation, a nation which abides by the rule of its own laws, and those of the international community. It’s all too simplistic to say that because Israel is being hacked, then hackers are fee to attack Arab nations or Iran. But vigilantism cannot ever be condoned. Such hack attacks against Iran must be undertaken by the government. If hackers were free to do their thing without state sanction, then that means they’re free to attack anybody and anything they set their minds on; which is why vigilantes must be stopped.
    Well done and well said, Raffe. You’re absolutely right, legally, ethically and morally

  5. Raffe says:

    The actions of the Saudi/Egyptian/Arab/Iranian etc police are irrelevant. Whether or not they choose to arrest criminal hackers within their borders is their own choice. However the work of the Israeli Police Force is to arrest hackers such as IDF Team. We cannot show favor to one person (or people) because they’re attacking targets or countries that we don’t agree with. Computer hacking is a crime. Period.

    Paul: Israel’s Cyber Crime Legislation (1995/5755) clearly defines a cyber criminal act as: disrupting or interfering with the operation of a computer; disseminating “specious information” or “specious output”; unauthorized access; unauthorized access to commit another offense; and disseminating viruses or other harmful programs. The various DDoS attacks committed by IDF Team are illegal and they should be arrested.

    I am absolutely enraged at the actions of the various Arab/Pro-Palestinian hackers who have been hacking Israeli websites and their actions are illegal as well. These people should be arrested and face the full extent of the law. That being said it is the Justice Department of their particular country, wherever they may reside, that determines if, and when, a case against them should go forward.

    David: This is not ‘political correctness’ but a mere desire to see Israeli law enforced. I would want them to be arrested if they were targeting any website in the world as their actions are criminal.

  6. Ellen says:

    Yes, Raffe, Israel should tell the police in those arab countries to arrest their hackers. One question – what kind of fantasy world are you living in? It sounds great, how do I get there?

  7. Paul Winter says:

    As far as I am aware, computer crime refers to stealing money from someone’s account, money laundering or theft of trade secrets. I have never heard of hacking being regarded as a crime. In any case, the very notion of Israel lodging a complaint against an Arab national in the expectation of any action being taken against such an individual, is bizarre. What is more disturbing than the hacking is that Raphe Gold’s condemnation of Israeli hackers is far stronger than his condemnation of Arab hackers attacking his country. It seems to have escaped Gold that attacking a stock exchange or a bank has different dimensions and ramifications than attacking an airline or far more seriously, attacking a hospital. For that humanity evident in Jewish hackers and its absence in the Arab enemies, I commend the IDF Team and wish them every success.

  8. David says:

    Absolute nonsense, political correctness is precisely what is pressuring Israel from all sides today. In case Raffe Gold is unfamilar with the expression “an eye for an eye” I suggest he looks it up.

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