The terrorist group Islamic Jihad, which answers to Iran, has launched a massive cyber attack on the Israeli army in the wake of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
According to Mashregh, an Iranian media outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards, Islamic Jihad’s Beitol Moghadas (Jerusalem) unit obtained detailed information on 5,000 high-ranking Israeli military personnel. The information includes names, telephone numbers, addresses, emails and rankings, even within the Israeli intelligence division.
The Islamic Jihad unit then emailed those Israeli personnel that it obtained their personal information and that “Gaza will become the graveyard of your soldiers and Tel Aviv a ball of fire,” Mashregh said.
Mashregh published information on 92 of the Israelis, but it also attached a downloadable file with information on the rest of the military personnel.
Reuters reported from Jerusalem Sunday that the Israeli government has come under a massive cyber attack since the Gaza conflict broke out last week. More than 44 million hacking attempts have been made on various Israeli government sites since Wednesday.
The attacks by Islamic Jihad, which is a front for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, comes on the heels of Guards’ cyber attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and facilities and organizations in the U.S., including the recent attacks on U.S. banks.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said last month Iran is a cyber threat and that the Pentagon would respond if America is attacked. U.S. authorities believe Iranian hackers were responsible for the recent cyber attacks on oil and gas companies in the Persian Gulf.
The Revolutionary Guards have formed a hacking unit to engage the U.S. and Israel in a cyber war. This follows a sophisticated computer worm called Stuxnet that destroyed hundreds of Iranian nuclear centrifuges two years ago, setting back the country’s nuclear weapons program. Iran since then has been building its cyber capabilities.
As WND reported last year, Iran’s cyber warfare program is now under the supervision of the regime’s Passive Defense Organization. The European Union attaches this entity to either Iran’s proliferation-sensitive nuclear activities or Iran’s development of a nuclear weapons delivery system.
Iranian officials have announced their cyber war campaign would support the goals and ideals of the Islamic regime. In a meeting between the regime’s Revolutionary Guard commanders and Iranian scientists, America’s cyber vulnerabilities were discussed. They concluded that the U.S. power grids represent the best opportunity for such attacks, as more U.S. utilities are moving their control systems to the Internet and using smart-grid technology.
A report last year by the U.S. Department of Energy’s inspector general found that the nation’s power grid is still vulnerable to cyber attack. The vulnerable state of the power grid was blamed on several factors, especially the fact that the “critical infrastructure protection” cyber standards, which power companies were to have fully implemented a year ago, are not effective.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and author of the award winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).