Hackers have attempted to launch more than 1 million cyberattacks against Israeli government websites in the past 24 hours, and over 1,000 sites have been hacked.
The most prominent attacks have been against military industries websites, during which hackers apparently tried extracting information about the Iron Dome antimissile defense system, as well as other military systems.
The government's teleprocessing unit, which in recent days has operated on emergency alert status, also reported an unprecedented number of cyberattacks over the past few days.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz visited the unit's control center, where he was told that since the onset of Operation Pillar of Defense last Wednesday, more than 44 million attempts to disrupt government websites have been detected.
Steinitz said just one hacking attempt was successful on a site he did not want to name, but it was up and running after 10 minutes of downtime.
Typically, there are a few hundred hacking attempts a day on Israeli sites, the ministry said.
Attempts on defence-related sites have been the highest, while 10 million attempts have been made on the site of Israel's president, 7 million on the Foreign Ministry and 3 million on the site of the prime minister.
The ministry spokesman said while the attacks have come from around the world, most have been from Israel and the Palestinian territories.
"The ministry's computer division will continue to block the millions of cyberattacks," Steinitz said. "We are enjoying the fruits of our investment in recent years in developing computerized defence systems."
According to Maglan Information Defense Technologies, which is following the cyberattacks against Israel, tens of thousands of attacks have come from countries in Western Europe, Great Britain and South America, in addition to the regular amount of attacks from Arab countries.
Furthermore, at least 3,000 Israelis' email accounts were hacked, resulting in thousands of hacked Facebook accounts. Hackers have left pro-Palestinian messages on a number of Israeli websites.
According to CEO Shai Blitzblau, Maglan's intelligence system identified an organized pattern of cyberattacks on sites with affiliations to the Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command. In addition, websites belonging to Radio Darom and Radio Ashkelon were also targeted.
The blitz was launched by the online hacktivist collective Anonymous, which said it protesting the attacks taking place on Gaza. Dubbed OpIsrael, the hacking spree also targeted retail and business sites, allegedly resulting in the defacement or shutdown of hundreds of sites through a variety of methods, including denial of service attacks.
According to the latest list, 663 sites have been affected. The bank of Jerusalem, one of Israel's largest financial institutions, received particular attention from the hacktivists — as the cyberattackers crowed over their achievement in deleting the organization's online database through social network Twitter. Trying to access the bank's website resulted in nothing more than a database error, but was restored later on.
In a press release, Anonymous said, "the government of Israel publicly threatened to sever all Internet and other telecommunications into and out of Gaza they crossed a line in the sand. As the former dictator of Egypt Mubarack [sic] learned the hard way — we are ANONYMOUS and NO ONE shuts down the Internet on our watch."
According to the ZDNet technology site, in a move that separates OpIsrael from many other campaigns, the hacktivists have put together a downloadable "care package" for residents of Gaza in the scenario that the Israeli government's promises come true and Internet connections are severed. It contains useful information on evading IDF surveillance as well as basic first-aid data.