Feeds

Celebrity hacktivist joins the Mid-East cyber-war

DoctorNuker talks politics to the Reg

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

An attack by pro-Israeli hackers against the Hizbollah and Palestinian Authority Web sites over a week ago initiated the current Middle-East cyber-war, which has widened considerably, lately affecting sites in other countries and drawing talent from overseas.

One incredibly prolific hacktivist and defacement artist known as DoctorNuker, founder of the Pakistan Hackerz Club, not only threw down the gauntlet on the Palestinian side last week, but even attacked an influential Jewish lobbying group on US soil -- the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) -- with a hacked homepage featuring links to enormously disturbing photos of Israeli aggression dating from 1948 to the present.

More significantly, he also compromised two of the organisation's databases, one containing approximately 3500 e-mail addresses of members, and another containing the names, addresses and credit-card account details of roughly 700 donors.

The public exposure of personal data marks an interesting escalation in a battle previously characterised by the aggravations of packet floods and DNS hijacks.

"The idea of posting members' information came when I saw the e-mail addresses of [AIPAC contributors] belonging not only to big companies but government organizations -- US Senate and military departments. Nothing is effective unless it affects the big bosses," DoctorNuker told The Register.

Until now the Doctor has been concerned chiefly with India's heavy-handed treatment of Kashmir, attacking scores of sites and numerous US government facilities in protest, including the hacked homepage at the Department of Commerce, where he warned the USA to "stop interfering in our internal affairs....or we will perform our next nuclear test....in your ass."

The recent Palestinian cyber-resistance attracted DoctorNuker's interest because, as he told us, "we share the religion and we think alike."

Meanwhile, the AIPAC Web site remains off-line while the organisation seeks to beef up its security. AIPAC will resume its on-line presence in a week or two, but "may not continue signing members up on-line," AIPAC press spokesman Ken Bricker told The Register.

Interestingly, the people whose details were exposed have in large part been indulgent. "Of the sixty or seventy affected people who called us, most were sympathetic," Bricker said. "Only one I can remember was actually shrill."

Also notable here is the characteristic restraint with which PHC members and fellow hackers have treated the exposed database of credit information. "We're aware of only three incidents of fraud associated with the intrusion," Bricker told us.

Hackers, as we have pointed out before, tend not to be motivated by personal gain, but more by curiosity or bragging rights. Hacktivists, naturally, are even less concerned with material advantage.

Bricker interprets the hack as an opportunity to reflect on the importance of solid Web security, and emphasises that the organisation is in no hurry to restore the site until its vulnerabilities are understood and adequately addressed. The FBI's National Information Protection Centre (NIPC) is doing what it can to trace the attack back to its source.

DoctorNuker has of course assumed this much and says he "will not touch [AIPAC] for a while now....I know they are watching the logs and methods closely."

But he's far from backing down. He may need to leave AIPAC alone for a bit, but he'll be pleased to deal with other targets. He'll "continue the cyber attacks, some hidden hacks and some public defacements, until they realize that they are in trouble," he told us. ®

Related stories

Cyberwarfare levels the playing field
Cyberwar in the Middle East

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.