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Tensions in the Middle East trigger a wave of cyberattacks against Israel

OpsBedil operation, first seen in 2021, has resurged amid the escalating tensions among Palestinians and Israelis. The cyber operation against Israel is conducted by the pro-Palestinian hacktivists DragonForce Malaysia and its activists.

Cybersecurity company Radware issued an advisory detailing the resurgence of OpsBedil operations that fills the void left by one of the world’s most infamous and now-defunct Anonymous operations, OpIsrael.

Unlike OpIsrael, the OpsBedil operation is reactionary and follows physical and political confrontations in the Middle East. In recent weeks, violence in the region has surged.

The current campaign, OpsBedilReloaded, started on April 11, 2022. Pro-Palestinian group DragonForce Malaysia and its affiliates began targeting several organizations in Israel with defacements, denial-of-service attacks, and data leaks. The operation is still ongoing.

Daniel Smith, head of research for Radware’s cyber threat intelligence division, said that OpsBedil represents a clear and potent threat to organizations with unprotected assets and are in Israel or have associations with Israel.

“Companies need to be on guard, especially from April through July. Using crowdsourcing, the OpsBedil operation will prioritize quantity over quality to spread information and propaganda, deface websites, leak data, and conduct denial-of-service attacks. Among other platforms, this new generation of hacktivists is now using TikTok as a communication forum. Threat actors can recruit a crowd of hacktivists, share operations details, and post videos, which can also give away visual clues as to the identities and global distribution of the participants.”

OpsBedil operation

It is expected that DragonForce Malaysia will be most active between Al Quds day and Jerusalem day, with extended operations lasting through to July.

Radware emphasized that, unlike Anonymous, which has very little bandwidth left to target Israel, Malaysia and its affiliates have the time, resources, and motivation to present a new moderate level of risk for the country of Israel.

DragonForce Malaysia relies on unsophisticated and publicly available attack tools, such as Hammer and DDoS-Ripper. It has a website and a forum, which has grown to 13,000 members and over 11,000 discussion threads.

Besides data dumps, DDoS, and website defacements, attacks may also include unwanted emails containing malicious files or antisemitic SMS/WhatApp messages directed at Israeli citizens.

“Those who directly or indirectly support the country of Israel could become a target of DragonForce Malaysia during this period,” Radware noted.

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