The New York-based Jewish Press newspaper was hacked yesterday by a pro-Palestinian group called the “Gaza Hacker Team.”
Visitors to the site yesterday found a black backdrop with a picture of a man on horseback holding an ISIS-style flag. Red and green Arabic writing ran up and down the page, calling for more attacks on websites affiliated with Israel, according to a Google translation.
“Death to your entity mutant named ‘Israel,’” roughly translated one sentence. An Arabic chant played eerily in the background.
According to cyber-security expert Paul Goldenberg, the Jewish community is highly susceptible to these attacks; the threat cannot be underestimated.
“The Jewish community is unlike any other community with regard to cyber threats,” said Goldenberg, cofounder of the Secure Community Network, or SCN, a nonprofit created in 2004 to beef up security at U.S. Jewish institutions. He said that SCN has tracked threats from nation states, including Lebanon, Pakistan and Iran, as well as non-state actors, including Palestinian and neo-Nazi groups.
According to Goldenberg, a cyber attack could have the greatest long-term impact on the credibility and resiliency of any organization. “Senior administrators need to understand that if systems go down, the names of children in their camps or the financial information of their donors could get into the hands of those seeking to do harm.”
Russel Neiss, a technology consultant who has works with Jewish organizations on digital strategy and app development, said The Jewish Press was using websites plugins with known and documented vulnerabilities.
"The 'hack' likely exploited these known issues and is most probably not the work of some skilled attackers, but rather automated using freely downloadable software found from around the internet," he wrote in an email. "This sort of attack should be easily avoidable with only a small amount of prevention by a staff member of the organization with a moderate amount of technological knowledge or an attentive contractor."
The Jewish Press website is currently being upgraded.