Daily Israel Report

Ramallah Blames Israel for Cyber Attack on PA Internet

Ramallah claims Israel may have been behind the crash of the PA's Internet system in Judea, Samaria and Gaza on Tuesday.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 11/3/2011, 12:19 PM

PA Internet crashed
PA Internet crashed
Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority's Ramallah government claims that Israel could have been behind a cyber attack that crashed the PA's Internet system Tuesday in Judea, Samaria and Gaza from morning until after nightfall.

The system in the PA territories was struck the day after the entity was granted full membership in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The U.N. agency decision was widely condemned within Israel and among Western nations.

PA Communications Minister Mashur Abu Daqqa told reporters Wednesday that the PA servers were attacked “in an organized way using mirror servers.” It was this, he said, that led PA officials to believe the attack had come from outside the entity.

“I think, from the manner of the attack and its intensity, that there is a state behind it,” he said. The attack was launched from “more than 20 countries... which led to the disruption and the disabling of the Internet service, first to [Judea and Samaria] before the cyber attackers turned their attention to the Gaza Strip,” Daqqa's adviser, Mohamed al-Ayadi told the A-sharq al-Awsat newspaper.

“Ordinary people or even average hackers could not have carried out this cyber attack,” said. “The hackers who carried out this attack are more dangerous and more numerous than some people imagine – this was part of a large-scale organized and systematic attack.”

The organized DoS (denial of service) attack on the PA Internet system Tuesday brought down both Internet services as well as phone lines in Judea, Samaria and Gaza until nightfall.

An IT expert involved in repelling the attack told the newspaper that five million communication requests were sent to the PA servers per minute from a multitude of sources, thus overloading the servers. “This led to the collapse of all the PA internet servers that operate globally, while those that operate on the local level were not affected,” the source said.

“Israel could be involved, as it announced that it was considering the kinds of sanctions it would impose on us,” Daqqa claimed. “It was clear that this attack was intended to wipe the name of Palestine off the Internet in response to Palestinian membership at UNESCO.”

Daqqa added that Ramallah would ask the U.N.'s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to launch an investigation into the attack.