Late Saturday night, hackers affiliated with the worldwide network known as ‘Anonymous’ attacked hundreds of Israeli websites as part of a campaign targeting Israel for their occupation of Palestinian land and attacks against Palestinian civilians.On Saturday night, a group calling itself ‘The N4m3le55 cr3w’ announced that they “have gathered 600 websites and 100 plus servers we will be attacking”, and promised that the total number of sites that would be taken down and/or defaced would number more than thirteen hundred.

As of Sunday morning, hundreds of Israeli websites, including the Bank of Israel, Tax Authority, the Kadima partyand the Central Bureau of Statistics, were down, and hundreds more had been taken down by their owners as a precaution against attack.

While the Israeli government claimed that Distributed Denial of Service (dDoS) attacks were the only tools that the hackers would be able to use to get at the Israeli websites, other sources claim that the hackers have been able to infiltrate websites with malware and Trojan horses. This creates a more complex security problem for the website owners than the dDoS attacks, which take down a site temporarily by overloading the server with page requests.

Saturday’s attack follows a massive attack two weeks ago by anonymous in which the details of hundreds of Israeli officials were released, and a virus that infected Israeli Facebook users earlier this week.

In a statement explaining the reason for this attack, Anonymous said to the Israeli government “You have NOT stopped your endless human right violations. You have NOT stopped illegal settlements. You have NOT respected the ceasefire. You have shown that you do NOT respect international law”.

“This is why on April 7, elite cyber-squadrons from around the world have decided to unite in solidarity with the Palestinian people against Israel as one entity to disrupt and erase Israel from cyberspace.”

A representative of the Israeli government’s cyber bureau played down the attack, saying “Anonymous doesn’t have the skills to damage the country’s vital infrastructure.”