Following the Israel-Hamas war, hackers and hacktivist groups have taken to the dark web to convey the message about their stance. In a Telegram message, Killnet, a cybercriminal group with pro-Russian ties, hinted that they do not intend to actively target Israeli citizens.
The hacker collective has condemned the loss of civilian lives in the Israel-Hamas conflict and further affirmed their commitment to refrain from launching cyberattacks on the critical infrastructure of either nation.
The Israel-Hamas War and Hacktivists Involved
The ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict, rooted in social and political agendas, has been going on since the 20th century. However, a significant escalation occurred on Saturday, October 7, when Hamas, a militant group in the Palestinian territories, initiated an aerial assault on Israel, resulting in the loss of hundreds of civilian lives.
Following this, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared an official war against Hamas.
Hamas is a Palestinian organization with Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist, militant, and nationalist roots. It comprises two main branches: the Dawah, responsible for social services, and the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, its military arm. Hamas oversees the governance of more than two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
In response to the Israel-Hamas conflict, Killnet made a statement on its Telegram channel, expressing opposition to the Israeli government while also denouncing the atrocities committed by both Israel and Hamas against innocent civilians.
In their denial of launching cyberattacks on critical infrastructure of both sides of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Killnet wrote that they are against the pro-NATO government of Israel.
Hundreds of civilians based in Israel and Palestine have been killed in the Israel Hamas war. Moreover, Hamas claimed kidnapping over 100 Israeli hostages which includes women, children, high-ranking officials.
Amid growing doubts and speculations, the hacktivist collective Anonymous Sudan, recognized for its use of high-cost offensive tools and involvement in cyberattacks alongside pro-Russian factions, is suspected to have joined forces with the cybercriminal group Killnet
Geneva Code of Cyber-War, Will it Work?
The statements of sympathizing with civilians and then choosing to go on an offensive mission against one of the two warring nations points toward conflicting ethos.
Amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, and Killnet’s declaration of online campaigns against pro-NATO Israel, the Geneva Code of Cyber-War adds a layer of sentiments among cybercriminals trying to show themselves in good light. It’s crucial to highlight that cybercriminals from Ukraine and Russia have reached an agreement to adhere to the Geneva Code of Cyber-War.
The rules in the Geneva Code of Cyber-War restricts attacking targets that impact civilians. Calling it the first step towards peace, Killnet’s leader Killmilk told BBC, “(I) agree to the terms and rules of the Red Cross, let this be the first step from Killnet to peace.”
Other cybercriminal groups including the IT Army of Ukraine also said that they will follow the rules. The cybercriminal group’s spokesperson told BBC, “(We) will make best efforts to follow the rules.”
Nevertheless, the Geneva Code of Cyber-War fails to provide protection for civilians, as hackers perceive NATO organization as violators of the principles and nations they defend.
The Geneva Code of Cyber-War is the first of its kind that includes rules for hacktivists. It was issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The statement ban cyberattacks on hospitals, attacks against civilian objects, and the use of malware that damages military objectives.
The Geneva Code of Cyber-War which was agreed by some and disagreed by others also urges patriotic hackers to follow the rules even in the case of other hackers not doing so.
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