In a first, Israel responds to Hamas hackers with an air-strike
In the midst of escalating violence between Israel and militants in Gaza over the weekend, Israel became the first country to use kinetic force to respond to a cyberattack in real-time.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed that Hamas hackers launched a cyberattack against its systems on Saturday. After thwarting the campaign in cyberspace, the IDF took the conflict into the physical realm by carrying out an air-strike on a building in the Gaza Strip where the threat actors were allegedly located. “After dealing with the cyber dimension, the Air Force dealt with it in the physical dimension,” an IDF spokesperson stated, adding that “[a]t this point in time, Hamas has no cyber operational capabilities.”
The incident occurred as Israel and Hamas were already engaged in physical conflict, with Gaza militants launching rockets into Israel and Israel launching airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas and has been subject to a stringent blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt since 2007. Over the last decade, Hamas and Israel have fought three wars, in 2008-2009, 2012 and 2014. Israel is a major ally of NATO, which in 2016 declared cyber an official battleground in modern warfare.