[SEE ADDED WARNING BELOW]
A fairly active cyber militia within Israel wants you! These cyber activists (Help Israel Win) are actively recruiting pro-Israeli computer users to aide in their cyber attacks against Hamas websites. These efforts appear to date back to the very early days of the latest conflict in Gaza. The militia developed and is distributing a cyber weapon called "Patriot" that once installed turns the volunteer computer to be remotely controlled and used in a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack against targeted Hamas websites.
As of late last week, the cyber militia said there were about 8,000 downloads of the cyber weapon. This is not just a hack package. The software includes the ability to remotely update the cyber weapon as well as an uninstaller that will remove the program once the conflict has ended.
This is just one aspect of the growing cyber war. The DDoS coupled with a significant propaganda (PSYOPS) offensive has continued to intensify in the Israel/Gaza conflict. PSYOPS is commonly used to induce and/or reinforce attitudes and behaviors favorable to the desired objectives of those launching the psychological operations. There have been reports that the Israeli military is also using the good old phone system in their PSYOPS initiatives. There have been multiple reports that Palestinians have been receiving phone calls from the Israeli army warning them against dealing with or assisting Hamas. Numerous reports of web site defacement have echoed throughout the online world for weeks now. In fact, the Israeli military launched its own PSYOPS and became the first national army to set up an official YouTube channel featuring its own military videos.
This is just the latest indicator of the new hybrid conflict engagement that combines bombs and bullets with bits and bytes. One thing is sure; the cyber war is heating up with multiple other countries getting involved.
A cautionary note. Can someone else use the installed Patriot program? Yes - potentially. That being said, millions of computers have the same issue that are part of BotNets and the owners are totally unaware of that fact. Anyone who grants any type of remote access for maintenance, this type of activism or who knows what are placing themselves at risk.