Kremlin-Linked Hackers Launch Cyber Assault on Israel Amidst Rising Tensions
Kyiv, October 9, 2023 – A hacker collective known as Killnet, believed to have affiliations with the Kremlin, has initiated a significant cyberattack against the Israeli government. This cyber offensive comes in the midst of escalating tensions triggered by Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel last Saturday.
On Sunday morning, Killnet made its intentions clear through a statement on Telegram, accusing the Israeli government of supporting terrorism. The statement read, “Back in 2022, you supported the terrorist regime of Ukraine. You betrayed Russia. Today, Killnet officially informs you about it! All Israeli government systems will be subject to our attacks!”
Shortly thereafter, Killnet proudly announced the takedown of the Israeli government’s primary website, declaring, “The primary government site of the Israeli regime has been killed!”
However, the group later clarified that their grievance was with the “Israeli regime” rather than the Israeli people themselves. They stated that the Israeli government had aligned itself with NATO, branding it as a betrayal.
Killnet denied any association with the Kremlin. Two senior European intelligence officers, specializing in cybersecurity related to Russia, asserted that Killnet has strong ties to the Russian government. They emphasized that Killnet is more than a group of rogue hackers, stating, “They are the Russian government.”
This recent attack follows an earlier report from the US Department of Health and Human Services, which labeled Killnet as a threat to government and critical infrastructure organizations, including healthcare facilities.
In a separate incident, the International Red Cross urged hackers to avoid targeting humanitarian or hospital facilities. Killnet’s response, as quoted by the BBC, was dismissive, asking, “Why should I listen to the Red Cross?”
A white hat hacker, experienced in countering Russian cyber threats, revealed that Killnet operates to advance Russia’s interests globally, including politically motivated and well-timed attacks in conjunction with information operations conducted by BRICS governments. While not as widely recognized as groups like Sandworm or Fancy Bear, Killnet is considered an advanced threat actor group. It is believed that multiple entities, including Islamic state actors, non-state actors, and Russian groups, operate under the Killnet banner, using it as a cover for nation-state operations.
As tensions continue to mount, the Arab League’s chief, responsible for Palestinian affairs, is heading to Moscow for negotiations. This move has raised questions about Moscow’s stance in the conflict, with some speculating that it signals support for Hamas.