ADL warns Jewish groups of 'digital terrorism'

ADL warns Jewish groups of 'digital terrorism'

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is warning Jewish institutions and individuals to prepare for a potential hacking campaign mounted by an affiliate of Anonymous. 

The ADL said a pro-Palestinian hacking collective known as AnonGhost is threatening an “electronic Holocaust” against Jews on Tuesday, including hacks targeting individuals’ cellphones. The effort was scheduled to coincide with the celebration of Passover. 

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“In the past three years, anti-Israel hackers participating in this campaign have targeted Israeli sites with limited success, but they are now widening their attacks to target individual Israelis with threatening anti-Semitic rhetoric,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, in a statement released Saturday. 

“Israel and Jewish communities worldwide should be on alert, as digital terrorism takes many forms and hackers are getting more sophisticated,” Foxman said.

The campaign — dubbed #OpIsrael on Twitter — is intended to “erase” Israel from cyberspace, according to its organizers. Anonymous and its affiliates have a history of targeting Jewish institutions over Israel’s activities in the Palestinian conflict. 

Online hostilities against Israel previously spiked during a 50-day battle with Palestinians that left more than 1,500 civilians dead. Security expert Isaac Ben-Israel of Tel Aviv University said cyberattacks against Israel jumped from 100,000 to more than one million per day during the conflict. 

The ADL said AnonGhost “appears to have already threatened individual Israelis with violence through mobile devices” in advance of Tuesday’s campaign. 

Hackers claim to have gathered personal information for more than 200 Israelis, and allegedly sent text messages threatening to murder two individuals and their families.