Anonymous Declares Cyber War on Israel, Downs Mossad Site, Many Others

They're Back. Anonymous has launched a full-frontal assault on the Israeli government's web presence over recent events in Gaza. It's alleged that the attacks escalated after the death of Tayeb Abu Shehada, 22, a Palestinian protestor shot wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. Here's the running tally of downed sites:

Update, 08/04/2014, 06:17 am EDT: As of this writing, the Mossad's website is still down—over a week since the first distributed denial of service attack crashed the site. Many of the other targeted Israeli government websites, the Israeli State Archives site, the homepage for the southern Negev district, the Ministry of Justice, are still down as well:

Anonymous Declares Cyber War on Israel, Downs Mossad Site, Many Others

You can follow the ongoing, virtual carnage @AnonymousGlobo, while also taking time to admire the avatar's Nyan Cat tie.

A Norwegian faction or member of the group, Anonymous Norge, also appears to have discovered and publicly dumped a large cache of Israeli router usernames and passwords (very clearly, all the ones that were lazily set to "1234"). It could very well be a joke and/or bullshit.

According to an early report by Mother Jones, the #OpSaveGaza campaign was initiated primarily by hackers based in the Middle East, Asia, and South America.

"As a collective 'Anonymous' does not hate Israel," an anonymous spokesperson told the publication, "it hates that Israel's government is committing genocide & slaughtering unarmed people in Gaza to obtain more land at the border."

A week ago, the effort had been motley enough to warrant think pieces about the relative state of disarray that the hacktivist group has suffered through since roughly March 2012: When it was discovered that a prominent member of the anonymous group LulzSec, Hector "Sabu" Monsegur, had simultaneously been an FBI informant while participating in some of the group's dissident-hacking chicanery.

Last night, the Associate Press reported that Israel is withdrawing the majority of its ground forces from the Gaza Strip, in an apparent bow to international pressure. (The U.S. government called news of an Israeli airstrike near a U.N. shelter "disgraceful," to cite one example.) Though, with Hamas officials vowing to maintain the fight, it's hard to know if they can actually deescalate unilaterally.

An Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, told AP that the withdrawal was being initiated upon the successful destruction of the tunnel network that Hamas has purportedly been using to stage their rocket attacks.

"We've caused substantial damage to this network to an extent where we've basically taken this huge threat and made it minimal," Lerner said.

But, surely, what he meant to say was that the recent and heavy attacks by Anonymous on the Israeli government's public-facing websites—with their important "about page" information and contact forms—was terrifying and forced a drastic reconsideration of the facts on the ground.

[image, slightly edited, by Nate Cepis for ANIMAL New York]

To contact the author, email matthew.phelan@gawker.com, pgp public key.