Posted on January 4, 2022 at 8:53 AM
Two Israeli media outlets were victims of a hacking incident connected to Iranian propaganda in solidarity following the assassination of top general Qassem Soleimani.
After hacking The Jerusalem Post, the Yemen rebels allegedly responsible for the incident showed a scene from an Iranian missile drill on the hacked website. The incident occurred last month where Tehran demolished a mock-up of Israeli’s nuclear reactor in Dimona.
Around the same time as the hacking incident on Monday, Yemen’s Houthi rebels captured a ship in the Red Sea and armed drones that targeted Baghdad’s international airport. These were a series of attacks to show their responsibility towards the killing of Soleimani, who was killed in a drone strike in 2020 by the U.S. government.
Tehran Launches Attacks During Soleimani’s Memorial
All three coincided with a massive memorial in Tehran for Qassem Soleimani, the general killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2020 in Iraq. Iran’s hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi demanded former U.S. President Donald Trump be “prosecuted and killed.”
The Twitter account of Maariv newspaper also had the same message, although for a short time, before it was taken down.
“We are aware of the apparent hacking of our website, alongside a direct threat of Israel,” Maariv posted on its website. The site was restored and came back online two hours after the hack.
The attack on the Israeli-based newspaper and the seizure of the Emirati ship Rwabe is the latest assault in the Red Sea, which is an important route for international trade and energy shipments.
The attack was acknowledged by the Saudi-led coalition hours later. The coalition noted that the ship was carrying medical equipment from a dismantled Saudi field hospital in Socotra.
Iran And Israel Reignite Years-Long Shadow War
After the U.S designated Iranian’s Quds force as a terrorist organization, Donald Trump ordered a drone strike that took out Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force. This infuriated Iran and its allies.
At the time, Trump explained that the drone strike was in response to a wave of attacks on US interests in Iraq, and warned to hold Iran responsible if the assaults continue.
Five days after the attack, Iran fired missiles at a U.S. airbase in Ain Al-Assad, which houses American troops in Iraq. They fired a second missile near Arbil in the north. However, no death was recorded from the attack, although the explosions caused traumatic brain injuries for dozens of U.S troupes.
Iran started a week-long activity that will mark the anniversary of Soleimani’s death. The government noted that the event began on Monday, January 3, but would show Iran’s missile capabilities on January 7. However, the authorities didn’t elaborate on that.
Iran-backed hacking syndicates have been repeatedly accused of hacking Israeli sites in the past few months. Both countries have been involved in a years-long shadow war that has been fought at sea, in the air, and on land.
The Battle Has Moved to The Cyberspace
However, both countries took the battle to cyberspace a few years ago, with Iranian-sponsored hackers targeting critical infrastructure in Israel. The most notable attack was the Stuxnet virus attack in 2010 that infected Iran’s nuclear program. The attack was believed to have been orchestrated by the U.S and Israel.
The attacks are coming when there are revived talks in Vienna to revive Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. While the world powers are struggling to negotiate for the return of the accord, Iran is accelerating its nuclear advances.
The U.S. pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 and imposed serious sanctions on Iran. But Tehran has not negated on its resolve to continue with the nuclear program. It has started to openly enrich uranium up to 60% purity, which is only 30% less than what is required to make an atomic bomb. Israel on the other hand has been seeking a more severe action against Iran for continuing the nuclear program. However, Iran still insists that its nuclear program is peaceful.
Although Israel is not part of the Vienna talks, it has threatened to take serious action against Iran if the diplomacy fails. On the other hand, the U.S has hinted that it’s preparing for an alternative against Iran if they continue to push on with the program. The Iranian hacking group has been a terror to governments. The main activity is to hack into the network of important ministries and agencies in search of highly critical information.