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Hackers Hit Aid Groups Responding to Israel and Gaza Crisis

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 13 (Reuters) – The websites of two relief groups providing aid to Israel and Gaza were disrupted in recent days after hackers flooded them with traffic, following a series of hackivist group threats over the ongoing conflict.

Jerusalem-based nonprofit United Hatzalah, which provides emergency medical services, said its website was struck by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that temporarily slowed its ability to receive donations.

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), a British charity helping with emergency relief to Gazans, on Thursday said in a posting on X, formerly Twitter, that its website was under a “cyber attack.”

“It is beyond disappointing that anyone should wish to disrupt the work of a humanitarian relief organisation, particularly during this unprecedented humanitarian crisis,” Rohan Talbot, MAP’s director of advocacy and campaigns, said in an emailed statement.

DDoS is a low-level and typically unsophisticated attack designed to overwhelm a website with artificial traffic, often causing it to crash.

Security analysts have been watching for a spike in hacking or espionage activity after an attack by Hamas militants killed more than 1,300 Israelis, mostly civilians, over the weekend. Israel’s retaliatory bombardments have killed 1,800 Palestinians, according to Gaza authorities.

The disruptions to the United Hatzalah website did not lead to loss of data or donations, said Jeremy Cole, a spokesperson for the group.

Another website impersonating United Hatzalah that had sprung up in the last few days seeking donations had been taken down, Cole said.

It was not clear who is behind either of the attacks, but various hacking groups – many supporting Hamas – have warned in recent days on Telegram and other messaging apps of coming actions.

“There’s a lot of DDoS attacks happening now, focused on services that people are looking for: rescue services, telco, government services, media – anything that people need at this time,” said Gil Messing of cybersecurity firm Check Point.

Most websites bounce back quickly from such hits, Messing added.

Source : reuters