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March 8, 2020 9:31 am

Hackers Use Israel’s Defense Minister’s Account for Pro-Palestinian Tweets

avatar by Raphael Kahan / CTech

Yamina Party member Naftali Bennett attends the Srugim conference in Jerusalem on Sept. 2, 2019. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

CTech – The official Twitter account of Israel’s Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett was hacked on the night between Friday and Saturday, apparently by Turkish or pro-Palestinian hackers. The unidentified hackers posted several tweets, including a picture of the Turkish flag accompanied by the name of Ottoman-born Turkish poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy and a picture of the Palestinian flag accompanied by the words “freedom for Palestine.”

The hack was discovered by Ran Bar-Zik, a senior developer at Verizon Media, who reported the incident to Twitter. In a blog post, Bar-Zik said the tweets were deleted within minutes, either through Twitter’s interference or by someone from Bennett’s staff.

Known for his right-wing politics, Bennett is also a co-founder of cybersecurity startup Cyota, which was acquired in 2005 by Nasdaq-listed RSA Security.

Though Twitter account hacks are not uncommon, hacks of the accounts of state officials can be especially harmful. In a following tweet, tech blogger Ido Keinan said that should the hackers have chosen a different strategy and used the hack to tweet fake news about a military operation, they could have caused mass panic or even sparked a potential armed conflict.

The minister’s office confirmed the hack in a statement, saying a preliminary examination showed the only compromised data was the password to Bennett’s Twitter account and no other accounts were breached. The office further stated the passwords to all of Bennett’s accounts have been changed as a precaution and that additional examinations will be performed Sunday.

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