Strategic Security Intelligence

Cyber War in the Middle East

Risks of Involvement in the Cyber War

Commentary (2000/11/03)

We have seen indications lately that private citizens have been getting involved in this war through what they believe to be 'hacktivism' or similar measures. We just wanted to let our readers know that there are real, not just cyber, risks involved in this. The members of this conflict - on both sides - use real bullets and bombs. So far, in the cyber war, we have seen:

In recent days, there has been a substantial escalation, including involvement of people from other nations, attacks on sites in other nations, and the development and deployment of 'new and improved' denial of service attack tools. The Palestinians have declared that they are moving into 'phase three' of their cyberwar, while the Israelies official position seems to be that they do not encourage or support cyber warfare activities carried out be others on their behalf - although they have apparently done nothing to stop it. Pro-Israeli groups have provided targeting information on Palestinian leader cell phones, the Palestinian telephone system, and various web sites with instructions on how they can be attacked.

The Palestinians have declared a strategy of economic war - "Remember, the more money they lose in fixing and strengthening their systems means less money to buy bullets and rockets for use against our children,"

Attacks on web sites have now caused owners to move those sites out of country, which likely means that attacks will move as well.

Finally, we want to remind your readers that this conflict has historically involved politics, propaganda, money, and violence. The cyberwar so far has started out political, moved rapidly to propaganda, is now in the 'money' phase, and may soon turn to physical violence.

If you choose to get involved in what you think is only a cyber war, prepare for the risk that it will turn into physical violence against you and your family.