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The Israel-Hamas War Erupts in Digital Chaos

'Hacktivism' is playing out with particular ferocity in the conflict

Following an attack on Israel by Hamas on Saturday, Israel declared war and fighting escalated throughout the weekend. As the death toll mounts on both sides and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) prepares an offensive, hacktivists in the region and around the world have joined the fight.

Within hours of Hamas militants and rockets entering Israel, such "hacktivist" attacks started to spring up against both Israeli and Palestinian websites and applications. In the short period since the conflict escalated, hackers have targeted dozens of government websites and media outlets with defacements and DDoS attacks, attempts to overload targets with junk traffic and bring them down. Some groups claim to have stolen data, attacked internet service providers, and hacked the Israeli missile alert service known as Red Alert.

"I saw at least 60 websites get DDoS attacks," said Will Thomas, a cyber threat intelligence researcher at cybersecurity firm Equinix who has been following the online activity. "Half of those are Israeli government sites. I've seen at least five sites be defaced to show 'Free Palestine'–related messages."

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