As the war between Israel and Hamas intensifies, a parallel war is raging online. Hackers from various groups and regions have been launching cyberattacks against both sides of the conflict, targeting government websites, media outlets, and apps with defacements, DDoS attacks, data theft, spam messages, and fake alerts.

Some of the hackers are motivated by ideological or religious reasons, while others are seeking attention or chaos. Some of the hackers have been active in other conflicts, such as the war between Russia and Ukraine, while others have emerged recently. Some of the hackers have claimed responsibility for their attacks, while others have remained anonymous.

The cyberattacks have added to the turmoil and confusion of the war, but they have not had a significant impact on the military operations on the ground, according to some experts. However, they have raised questions about the ethics and legality of hacktivism in times of war.

Recently, the International Committee of the Red Cross issued a set of rules of engagement for civilian hackers based on international human rights law. The rules aim to protect civilians and critical infrastructure from cyberattacks, and to prevent the use of malicious software that could cause harm beyond the intended target. The rules also require hackers to respect the rules even if their enemies do not.

However, not all hackers have welcomed or followed the rules. Some have said that they are unrealistic or irrelevant, while others have ignored or violated them. The rules also face challenges in terms of enforcement and verification.

The war between Israel and Hamas shows how hacktivism has become a common and complex phenomenon in modern conflicts. It also shows how hacktivism poses new challenges and opportunities for peace and security in cyberspace.

The cyber threat is undoubtedly expanding for organisations across the spectrum.  We recommend that all organisations review and update their security posture to protect themselves from these new challenges. In these turbulent times, website defacements and ransom attacks have become more frequent and damaging, as we have seen from our clients’ reports. If you have suffered from such attacks, either directly or indirectly, please contact CyberSolace for assistance with investigations and recovery.

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