CYBER TOUFAN: ANALYSIS OF THE LAST PRO-PALESTINIAN EMERGED GROUP
According to Check Point since the beginning of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in early October 2023, there was an increase of approximately 20% in cyberattacks in Israel, including more than 50% on the government sector.
A new pro-Palestinian group
Among these cyber offensives a new pro-Palestinian group named Cyber Toufan recently emerged launching a massive wave of cyber attack as part of #OpCyberToufan and #OpIsrael.
The group’s modus operandi consists in extracting and releasing large amounts of data from their victims, impacting millions of individuals.
As proof of their activities they started to publish on their Telegram channel exfiltrated data from the victims, like names, emails, phone numbers, and business interactions, and a list of private keys and certificates.
Israeli media defined the operation as the “largest cyberattacks in the history of Israel”, while Cyber Toufan claimed to have destroyed over 1,000 servers and breached 150 Israeli targets, including government agencies and companies.
The group victims
Among the affected organizations the Israeli Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security, the Israel State Archives, the Tel Aviv-based security and risk management company MAX Security, the well-known cyber security company Radware, two main manufacturing companies ISCAR Metalworking and Berkshire eSupply, Ikea Israel.
But the group victims are not limited to Israeli ones: even the US SpaceX and Tooling Associates and the Australian Seacret seems to be affrected by the operation.
In total we counted 49 victims so far and the Manufacturing sector is the most affected (39% of the attacks), followed by Wholesale / retail (27%) and Government / Military / Law Enforcement (10%).
A State-sponsored operation?
The cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies claimed Cyber Toufan’s style and capabilities are similar to cybercriminal groups linked to Iran, suggesting that this could potentially be a state-sponsored operation.
A recent report from Israeli newspaper Haaretz have raised concerns over the security issues in Israel due to the breach to several government entities.
While hacktivists are often known to exaggerate their accomplishments, Cyber Toufan’s activities have been taken seriously, as they continue to leak data from various victims on a daily basis, indicating a significant threat level.
We are all concerned about what is happening between Russia and Ukraine, and even more about the implications and possibilities that the conflict will eventually trigger World War III.
In the Cyber world, things are very different.
In Cyber space, geography doesn’t matter
The cyber world has no physical boundaries. A Russian or Chinese criminal can attack a neighbouring nation in the same way as one on the other side of the world.
For this reason, in cyber space alliances and coalitions matter relatively, and in any case, they have less weight than we think.
This changes all the rules of the game: while you commonly prepare for an assault by mainly defending the borders, protecting yourself from cyber assaults is more complex.
The attack can reach any electronic device at any time and can affect services as well as critical infrastructures of primary importance.
The Third World War will be fought (also) in Cyber Space
For these reasons it is likely that the Third World War will also be fought in the Cyber world.
Therefore, not only with conventional weapons or nuclear bombs: on the contrary, cyber attacks will be used, potentially capable of paralyzing institutions and entire countries.
This can take place exclusively or in combination with traditional attacks, greatly complicating the organization of the resources used for defense.
The conflict has already begun
Weeks before the start of military offensive, Russia launched a series of cyber attacks against the Ukrainian government and banking system.
These include a new “wiper” malware capable of erasing data from targeted systems.
The cyber attacks therefore actually anticipated the missiles.
And this is certainly not new: the cyber conflicts between Russia and Ukraine have been going on for several years now.
The situation is no different between Iran and the US, China and the US, North Korea and South Korea, India and Pakistan.
Almost all the nations in conflict end up launching cyber offensives that allow them to collect information, create disservices or different levels of damage.
All countries carry out Intelligence and espionage activities using highly advanced Cyber tools.
So, will the conflict between Russia and Ukraine lead us to World War III?
The truth is that at low intensity, the conflict has already begun.
Nowadays no one is able to effectively defend against cyber attacks, which at these levels could have devastating effects
The only positive consideration is that this situation acts as a deterrent and keeps the level of the fight at low intensity. Exactly as happened with the atomic bomb, as long as the various nations remain in equilibrium also from the Cyber point of view, there is hope that the cyberguerrilla will not lead to something more serious.
An excellent reason to continue investing in Cyber Security!