The U.S. Isn’t the Only Target of Cyber-Terrorism

A little while back we discussed a new form of terrorism that has been taking place across the globe. Millions of people “live” online, using the Internet to bank, pay bills, socialize, go to school and even work from home. When a website goes down, it can have a serious impact on the people who rely on the site. Terrorists have keyed in on the human race’s increasing reliance on the World Wide Web and have taken to a new form of terrorism – cyber terrorism. While many U.S. financial institutions have been the target of recent attacks, they are far from being the only targets affected by this new form of terrorism.

Israel Claims to Have Thwarted Recent Attacks

This past Saturday the group known as Anonymous stated that it had brought down 700 Israeli websites, both public and private, including the sites of many Israeli government offices. While it is true that Anonymous did indeed take down the office of the Foreign Ministry Mashav department (with the site remaining down as of Sunday night), Israel insists that most of the attacks made against its websites were thwarted before damage could be done.

So why would Anonymous want to shut down the websites of Israel? According to a statement issued by the group, the attacks were in response to a threat made by the Israeli government to “sever all of the Internet communications into and out of Gaza”. In a statement issued by Anonymous, the group said, “We are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch. To the IDF and government of Israel we issue you this warning only once. Do NOT shut down the Internet into the 'Occupied Territories,' and cease and desist from your terror upon the innocent people of Palestine or you will know the full and unbridled wrath of Anonymous.”

So who are the terrorists? The Israeli government who tried to shut down the Internet of the “Occupied Territories” or the hacker group who attacked hundreds of sites in response to the government’s threat to do so? One must assume that would depend on how you view the situation. After all, sometimes these things aren’t black and white. Sometimes there are shades of gray and it can be hard to tell the bad guys from the good guys. This may be one of those times.

Getting Caught in the Crossfire

The part of this story that caught Alertra’s attention is that attacks were made on both public and private websites. It would seem that some private websites had gotten caught in the crossfire of this cyber war over Internet freedom. What’s the lesson to be learned from this? That even if you’re a small, private website with no political agenda, you may very well get caught in the crossfire of a cyber-attack. Fortunately there are steps you can take to ensure that an attack on your site doesn’t bring it down – or at least doesn’t bring it down for long.

How can you protect your site from such a situation? Protecting yourself from DDoS attacks is one example. Having a backup plan in place should your site go down is another step you should take. Fortunately Alertra customers are made aware when their sites are going down or are suffering performance issues due to such attacks and other Internet havoc.

If you are notified by Alertra of a site outage or performance issue, make sure you take the steps that are necessary to ensure that your site gets back up on its feet with minimal downtime. Most importantly, make sure that you are indeed ready for an attack, even if it’s unlikely that you will be the target of one.