The unrest in the Middle East appears to have sparked a rising level of cyber attacks targeting both Israeli and pro-Palestinian entities, a US government agency said Friday. "Known targets have included Web sites operated by the Israeli government and military as well as Web sites operated by pro-Palestinian organizations including Hezbollah and Hamas," the National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) said.
The NIPC, a US government task force headed by the FBI, said that US Web sites could also be targeted. "Due to the credible threat of terrorist acts in the Middle East region, and the conduct of these Web attacks, recipients should exercise increased vigilance to the possibility that US government and private sector Web sites may become potential targets," the NIPC said.
It said the attacks are "transitory in nature, and do not pose a threat of lasting damage to Web sites." Israeli Web sites were hit by "automated e-mail floods and high volumes of coordinated requests for Web services by pro-Palestinian sympathizers," the statement said. Some of the e-mail flood attacks reportedly involved users of US free Web-based e-mail providers Yahoo and Hotmail, the agency said.
"While there are currently no indications that any specific US Web sites have been or will be targeted as a result of this activity, the NIPC recommends that recipients of this assessment remain vigilant to the possibility that there could be some spill-over activity and that US sites could become targeted."
Officials in Israel said Thursday the Internet site of Israel's foreign ministry crashed after it was flooded with information "attacks" from around the world. An Israeli official said one of the parties involved in the attacks "is controlled by the Shiites in the United States." The Web site of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, crashed for the same reason, he said, while the Israeli army's site has also been attacked but has not crashed. — (AFP, Washington)
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