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Army, NATO sites defaced by Mideast protesters
Published: 2009-01-09

Two high-profile Web sites — the U.S. Army's public-facing site for the Military District of Washington and the NATO Parliament's site — joined on Thursday the hundreds of online targets defaced by vandals protesting Israel's military action in Gaza.

The defacements contain messages in Turkish supporting the intifada, typically translated as the uprising against the Israeli government by the Palestinians, and critical of Israel, the United States, and Britain, according to defacement follower Zone-H. The attack is the latest defacement since the end of December, when Israel began attacking sites in Gaza following rocket launches from the territory. While some evidence of network attacks have been detected, there are no widespread denial-of-service attacks similar to the online conflict between Palestinian and Israeli hackers in 2000 or the more recent attacks on Georgia and Estonia by Russian patriots, said Jose Nazario, security-research manager at Arbor Networks.

"This is nothing on the scale of Georgia or even more recently with the (online) attacks on Kasparov," Nazario said. "These efforts appear to be loosely coordinated, but not on the scale that we have seen before."

The defacements came two weeks into the war between Israel and militants in Gaza. Israeli military forces bombed targets in the territory after rockets were fired into Israel from the Palestinian holding. The death toll neared 800 on Friday, but both sides dismissed calls from the United Nations to halt operations, according to the New York Times.

Last week, several sources reported that thousands of Web sites may have been defaced by Palestinian sympathizers. In addition, a group of Israeli students had urged the nation's supporters to download software to turn their computer into a botnet node which could be then used to attack Palestinian sites, but security experts questioned whether the software is actually a Trojan horse.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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