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June 3, 2016 5:03 pm

Pro-BDS Websites Being Targeted by Widespread, Systematic Cyber Attacks; Cybersecurity Firms Stumped by Identity of Attackers

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Pro-BDS websites are coming under cyber attack by unknown sources. Photo: Ministry of Defense Georgia.

Pro-BDS websites are coming under cyber attack by unknown sources. Photo: Ministry of Defense Georgia.

Cyber-security companies are working to uncover the culprits in a range of cyber attacks against anti-Israel websites, VICE News reported on Thursday.

According to the report, websites affiliated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are being targeted with various techniques aimed at taking them offline, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, in what appears to be a widespread, targeted campaign. The systematic attacks against the websites were uncovered by Canadian-based cybersecurity firm Deflect Labs, which offers its free services to protect the websites of independent media, human rights organizations and activists from cyber attacks.

According to a brief released by the firm on Thursday, the attacks show “a level of sophistication and commitment not generally seen on the Deflect network.” The firm has received some $500,000 in funding from the Canadian government.

In one instance, hackers targeted the main website for the Palestinian BDS National Committee — BDSmovement.net — with a DDoS attack, using tens of thousands of IP addresses to send a large surge of traffic, overloading the website and thereby shutting it down. DDoS attacks, VICE notes, “are generally considered to be more of a nuisance than an outright declaration of war…but for small activist groups like those that make up the BDS movement, a targeted DDoS attack could be ruinous.”

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Reacting to Deflects findings, Mahmoud Nawajaa, general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee, said in a statement on Thursday:

These latest cyber-attacks against BDS seem to be part of a full-fledged Israeli war on the movement that includes McCarthyite legal repression, use of intelligence services and yet more funding for ‘brand Israel’ propaganda. These attacks smack of Israel’s despair at its growing isolation around the world, after failing for years to stem the growing support for the nonviolent BDS movement as a strategic and effective means to achieve Palestinian rights under international law.

Deflect said that while it was unable to prove all the attacks originated from the same source, they were able to link some of the attacks together.

The BDS movement has become a major source of concern for the government of Israel. In February, the Associated Press revealed that the Israeli government allocated $26 million to combat anti-Israel activity online. “I want to create a community of fighters,” said Sima Vaknin-Gil, the director general of Israel’s Ministry for Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy.

On Tuesday, 1,500 people gathered at the UN in opposition to the BDS movement at the Ambassadors Against BDS International Summit. At the event, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, said the main goal of the BDS movement is “bringing an end to the Jewish state” and called the movement “the true face of modern antisemitism.”

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  • Scotch mist

    ‘ a taste of their own medicine’ we are all dancing in the streets!!!!!

  • Abbushuki

    If well meaning Canada and other supporters of ‘human rights’ were serious about peace, everyone should put all their resources into one effort only: Force the Pals to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. That is the ONLY key to peace & if that can’t be achieved, nothing else matters.

  • Reform School

    When the dust settles, don’t be shocked to learn all this hubbub is little more than Deflect Labs deflecting as much of your cash to its own coffers as it can away with. “When all is said and done, much more is said than done.”

  • Scott Adler

    Shall we all play violins for the poor anti-Semite fascists?

  • Andi Ziegelman

    BDS promotes many lies about Israel, and that is the reason that Israel is against it.
    The truth of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) is that Israel seeks two states for two peoples while in the ARABIC language, the PA seeks (1) the total destruction of Israel, (2) the disappearance of most of Israel’s Jews via murder or explusion, and (3) the founding of “Palestine” on the ruins of Israel.
    If you wish proof of my above contentions, read in English the Arab columnists, Bassam Tawil, Khaled Abu Toameh and Fred Maroun. Also receive my contentions straight from the PA via the MEMRI website, that translates Palestinian Authority Arabic TV programs and also PA written news articles, and clearly shows the Destroy-Israel and Kill-the-Jews mind-set of the PA. I myself saw on PA TV program a PA Palestinian father teaching his 3 YEAR OLD daughter to stab and kill Jews with a knife.

    • Hammersmith

      Israel as a “jewish” state is doomed. The Old South and South Africa, both swept in to the dustbin of history, show the way.

  • Anschel

    Excellent! Great idea to bring down these biased, probably foreign-funded, propaganda BS-BDS sites. Presumably, Deflect Labs will not assist the targeted sites because they are neither “independent media” nor “human rights” organizations but are entirely the opposite!

  • E P Campbell

    ‘These latest cyber-attacks against BDS seem to be part of a full-fledged Israeli war on the movement that includes McCarthyite legal repression, use of intelligence services and yet more funding for ‘brand Israel’ propaganda. These attacks smack of Israel’s despair at its growing isolation around the world, after failing for years to stem the growing support for the nonviolent BDS movement as a strategic and effective means to achieve Palestinian rights under international law’.

    The only ‘Palestinian Rights’ BDS is interested in is the complete destruction of Israel, at all costs, and by any means. BDS is nothing more than another Arabic self-declared-war strategy. Who can blame Israel for fighting a war of extermination with… war by every means to ensure its survival, when its only experience is the world standing by in WW2, with the power to intervene, and doing nothing of any consequence to help Jews escape annihilation?

  • Robert Davis

    bds is a political organisation of genuine political gangsters, why should they not be targeted by cyber attacks? of course the best “cyber attack” is to buil Israeli towns and villages in Judea/Samaria and show the world Israel does not care for pressures which will stop when Israel disregards them. Israel should also state clerly it has the right to remove arabs since the San Rmo and Articlke 80 of the UN Charter recognizes the whole of Palestine ie even Eastern Palestine as a jewish land. Israel’s Enemies cannot oppose un resulotions which are not even binding to these international law’s facts let alone arabs who recognized them by accepting the 22 States San Remo gave them at the same time.

  • nat cheiman

    Brilliant. Remember Stuxnet? Well, heres a new one

  • Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, is of course 100% correct in labeling the BDS movement’s main goal as “bringing an end to the Jewish state”.

    But he would strike a much more powerful resonance throughout the world if he, and, for that matter, the rest of the Israeli Government, portrayed Israel to the world as a lone small island of resistance in a sea of Islamic imperialism which imperialism will, for sure, envelop just about everybody if they don’t look out and join pluralistic Israel in its resistance.

    Ask not for whom the imperialist bell of Islam tolls – it tolls for YOU!

  • Charles Martel

    I sure hope these anonymous angelical hands manage to take down all the hateful anti-Israel networks and destroy the BDS movement.

    Only two kinds of individuals can support the BDS movement: moronic useful idiots who parrot those manipulating them, or the minds behind the manipulation. People using their God-given neurons must have already discovered that should the Palestinian “victims” put down the arms tomorrow, there would be no longer a conflict; but should Israel be the one misguidedly putting down the arms, there would no longer be a State of Israel, or Jews on the land of their ancestors.

    Imams and Islamic leaders across the world have been more than clear: the conflict is against the Jews, who according to the Qur’an are the descendants of apes and pigs. Period. End of story.

    If this reality is too harsh to digest, get informed. Educate yourself.

  • Steve

    Typical palo whining. Please world rescue us from our incompetence. We just want peace.

  • In this case I am fully on the side of the hackers.

  • Francis Figliola

    Great news!!

  • Zigeunerweisen

    Poor, poor BDS websites. Pro-Israel and conservative websites are constantly under attack from left-wing and muslim operators. Let’s just hope Deflect Labs doesn’t come under any such attack.

  • SteveHC

    “The systematic attacks against the websites were uncovered by Canadian-based cybersecurity firm Deflect Labs, which offers its free services to protect the websites of independent media, human rights organizations and activists from cyber attacks.” – Well, BDS is absolutely NOT a “human rights” movement and its participants and leaders absolutely do NOT care about Israel, Israeli citizens or the welfare of the Jewish people. So who cares about this matter, other than BDS proponents?

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