Early Warnings: Cyber and Kinetic Warfare in Gaza

November 16, 2012 • Chris

Following up our recent post highlighting the escalation of conflict between Israel and Gaza we want to look at the earliest signs that the attack – both physical and cyber – was growing. We’ll tell the story in a series of images showing social media and news content analyzed in Recorded Future.

The first serious signals suggesting Gaza expected a more significant physical conflict showed up on November 11 when Hamas’ interior ministry called for an evacuation of all offices.

The first indications of the evacuation were revealed on Twitter and Facebook.

Gaza Signals on Social from Hamas

The earliest reports came from Dima-Gaza on Twitter (the earliest of which was removed) along with other mentions from Richard Dufek, who has been keeping a running report of the latest on Twitter, and his related Facebook group International communities against Israel:

Early mentions of government evacuation on Twitter
Early Facebook post on government evacuation in Gaza

The first news channel to break the story came after reports on Twitter via YNet although there was only light uptake on the news elsewhere in the mainstream media.

First News Reports on Gaza government evacuation

The Parellel Cyber War

One of the fascinating aspects of this conflict is the visible use of cyber warfare on both sides. One such outcome was the difficulty in verifying official Hamas communications because their sites were down. The outage was claimed by a hacker known as The Jester:

Hamas Sites Down
Hacker Jester Claims Hamas Site Attacks

As cyber security commentary notes, this may be one of the first times that we publicly understand the influence of cyber attacks alongside kinetic warfare. Here’s the background from cyber expert Jeffrey Carr:

Cyber Operation in Israel / Gaza Conflict

Final Thoughts and Questions

On the cyber side, we’re seeing hacktivists take sides as shown by The Jester claiming the outages in Hamas friendly sites while voices associated with Anonymous take up the cause for Gaza citing Israeli government efforts to restrict Internet access On the physical side, we see Israeli troops headed to the Gaza border in preparation for ground warfare.

Did Hamas get a tip off that Israel would step up their response leading to the evacuation of their offices? What are you thoughts on the cyber side; is it possible that hacktivist efforts on either side could significantly impact ground operations? Does this turn into a full fledged regional conflict depending on the response of the United States, Egypt, and Iran?

Leave you thoughts below.