On the International Quds Day, threats of an imminent cyberattack against Israeli infrastructure has put every Israeli operator on high alert. Will the Iranians exact their vengeance now?
Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, many things have changed within the region. The sheer impact of the revolution rocked the Middle-East to the core, bringing about changes whose ripples are still felt today. The country that once was hailed as the region’s gendarmes, suddenly went against everything it was supposed to guard, chief among them the Americans objectives and on top of that, the support for the newly formed State of Israel. In all these years, both countries never shied away from pointing their fingers at each other, using every opportunity and tool at their disposal to rain down misery upon their opponent. One of the most important cultural initiatives formed during the course of hostility was the Quds initiative, a day of commemoration for the people of Palestine who came under the occupation of a foreign invader.
Today marks the day of Quds as hailed by Islamic countries still deemed loyal to the Palestinian cause. In all the years leading up to this moment, Iran and Israel made use of almost every tool at their disposal to promote their own cause. With the passage of time, those tools became more complicated and so did the rival’s attempts to undermine the other’s efforts. This year however, neither Iran nor Israel have the capacity to promote their cause the way they did before, courtesy of the coronavirus crisis. This year, there are no demonstrations, no stoning of figures whatsoever but thanks to the recent string of hostile actions taken against Iran by the Israeli government, it appears that the Iranians are prepared to send a commemoration gift of their own making to tell Israeli government that they are still loyal to the cause they pledged themselves to, even after all this time.
A couple of weeks ago, Israel’s National Cyber Directorate announced that the country is bracing itself for a string of Iranian-directed cyberattacks that seeks to disrupt the communications and to deface popular local websites with messages related to the Palestinian cause. Dubbed “Operation Jerusalem AKA OpJerusalem” by hackers sympathising with the cause, this latest cyber operation has been deemed to big of a threat by the directorate, prompting the authorities to issue warnings Israeli businesses, urging them to cautiously approach and interact with any unknown virtual component which they might come across throughout the day. Even though the Israeli experts themselves have speculated that Iranians and their affiliated groups might initiate the operation on this very day, because of its symbolic meaning obviously, there is no telling when would they cease their operations against the country.
Since a few years ago, Iranian-coordinated cyberattacks on Israeli websites have grown exponentially. Israeli experts identified the hackers as having ties with Iran, acknowledging that the previous attacks were part of a much broader operation against the country dubbed “Operation Israel”. Experts have said that during the initial phases of OpIsrael, hackers only stuck to the acts of cybervandalism; Defacing Homepages and replacing them with pictures promoting Palestinian cause, filling one’s computer with the pictures of Palestinians plight, famine in Gaza Strip and such. As time went by and Israel’s actions against Iranians assets grew more brazen, so did the hackers attempts at sabotaging the Israeli cyberinfrastructure.
Now in 2021, on the International Quds Day, there remains to be seen what kind of a cyber surprise attack the Iranians have been cooking up for the Israeli. It wasn’t that long ago when Israelis launched a series of cyberattacks targeting Iranians nuclear facilities in order to sabotage their operations and to undermine the Vienna talks that was due to address the prospect of JCPOA’s revival. Adding to the mix the assassination of a high-ranking nuclear scientist and Iran’s refrain from producing a response until now means that the Iranians and their affiliated hacker groups have something rather large in store for the Israeli government. At any rate, such an attack would send a message that the righteous war for the right of self-determination of the indigenous people of the land is far from over and that perhaps one day in God’s good time, Palestinians would rise up to the challenge, stepping forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.