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24 Oct 2023

Catherine Stupp, The Wall Street Journal

Cyberattacks intensify on Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups

"Cyberattacks intensify on Israeli and Palestinian rights groups," 20 Oct 2023

Hackers have stepped up efforts to take down the websites of Israeli and Palestinian humanitarian groups since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. The spike in cyberattacks on Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has reached levels similar to activity seen during the conflict between Israel and Hamas in 2014, said Roy Yellin, the organization’s director of public outreach... B’Tselem has [also] been facing online harassment in recent weeks... U.K.-based Medical Aid for Palestinians, which provides emergency relief to people in Gaza, said on X... that a cyberattack on its website was “an apparent attempt to prevent people donating towards our medical relief efforts.”

... Civilian hacking during warfare between nations is also going on in conflicts between Russia and Ukraine and between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as in Sudan, said Tilman Rodenhäuser, a legal adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross... “In a global context marked by staggering needs and an insufficient humanitarian response capacity, digital threats can weaken humanitarian operations and institutions,” [a new ICRC] report said.

... "When a human rights group’s website is knocked offline, employees working for the organization and the people they serve are reminded that opponents want to shut them down... It has a chilling effect on the organization itself and on the audience."... said... Dmitri Vitaliev, founding director of eQualitie, the Montreal-based nonprofit that runs Deflect.