Palestinian Officials Suspect Israel in Hacking Incident

By: Qichen Zhang on 4 November 2011

CNN reported earlier this week that hackers shut down the Internet in Gaza and parts of the West Bank on Tuesday. Palestinian authorities say that the area's main ISP was the target of a DDoS attack and that hackers were using IP servers located in Germany, China, and Slovenia to send viruses to disrupt online information flow. The Washington Post also reported that phone services were disrupted in the attack. During this time, Palestinian Internet users could not access foreign websites.

The timing of the attack has led Palestinians to suspect the Israeli state as the attack's perpetrator. Given the attack's timing shortly after UNESCO announced that it would be accepting Palestine as a new member—a decision that angered Israel—some Palestinian officials are pointing an accusatory finger at their neighbor. Palestinian communications minister Mashur Abu Daqqa stated to the AFP: “Since this morning all Palestinian IP addresses have come under attack from places across the world. I think from the manner of the attack and its intensity that there is a state behind it, and it is not spontaneous." However, technology analyst Rob Enderle told Tech News World that it is still very possible that individual hackers could have been behind this takedown. "Typically, hacker groups want to make a statement, and they're much more likely to attack Web pages, go after infrastructure, and do things that are very visible," he said.

Authorities are already restoring the Internet to its full capacity. According to Abdel Majid Melhem, director general of the Palestinian Telecommunications Company, Tuesday's takedown is "almost brought under control, but is ongoing, and our teams are working around the clock to solve the problem." Palestine leaders are mobilizing to find the culprit. Abu Daqqa is petitioning the International Telecommunications Union, a UN agency, to launch a formal investigation into Tuesday's attack. Plans include setting up a committee to track down the attackers as well as to devise preventative methods for the future.