At the Heart of a Siege: Hacker Force

The blockade on Gaza Strip has been called the “longest in history”, and it has been almost seven years that the Palestinians have been suffocating by the Israeli embargo. While the Occupation is cunningly imposing collective punishment on the Palestinian people, the resistance keeps on the track more powerfully than ever. These people have shown they are not doomed to oblivion, never, ever. The series “At the Heart of a Siege” deals with the issue of Gaza Siege from new angles most of which have not been dealt with so far. The series includes six episodes each probing into a singular facet of the issues related to the blockade of the Gaza Strip in depth. In three of the episodes the filmmaker provides new insights into the newfangled fronts the Israeli camp has created in its Modern Occupation. In “The Hacker Force”, we see how the Palestinian youth come to know about the threats Israel’s cyber war has posed on the Palestinian nation and try to counterattack it via different strategies.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

Narration: Israeli occupation is known for being electronically superior to many countries of the world. Therefore, Israel has established an Intelligence agency called “Aman”. This agency is proficient in electronic Espionage through a special unit called (Unit 8200). It is responsible for hacking phone calls and e-mails of governments, international organizations, and individuals. The Unit 8200 has played a remarkable role in recruiting spies and assassinating people all over the world. In addition, it has contributed to developing electronic viruses for hacking which targeted many computer systems around the world.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Islam Shahwan, Spokesman, Ministry of the Interior at Gaza: This indicates that the young Arabs are conscious and confirms their belief in the Palestinian Cause. They have to do something because of the geographical barriers. We encourage these trends and support them. We are ready to help those young people achieve the highest level of electronic attacks.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Anon, Hacker, Gaza: We will hack the websites that involve the Peace Agreements and such things. We reject these Peace agreements or treaties between America and any other Arab countries, and between Palestine and Israel. People try to hack such agreements. Those people are not able to give their life and money as means of resistance, and they want to take action and prove themselves. They want to tell the enemy they’re here; this is why they resist through hacking.”

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Abu Fahed, Member of Gaza Hacker Team: We were surprised with the message that appeared on the Anonymous Group Youtube channel as it mentioned our group. I think it didn’t happen as a result of our communication, but because they heard of the several accomplishments we have achieved. They knew there was a team working hard and seriously from Gaza, so they wanted to let us be a part of their group.

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Unknown man, Member of Gaza Hacker Team: After watching this global video of Arab Anonymous, as Arabs and Muslims, and from Gaza, we must participate in this campaign. This comes as a result of what we have been through and have suffered because of the Israeli occupation. We must take part in this campaign on the coming 7th of April, 2014 erase Israel from the internet.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Abu Yasser, Hacker, Kataeb Al-Aqsa: The 7th of April, 2014 will be a memorable day for the Zionists, because it’s going to be a future war on them. We contribute to this electronic war by the Anonymous. We hope that we can hack important websites, not only the economic ones, but more critical websites of the Israeli army and the government. This is not too hard to with the help of Allah.

Narration: This is the second time the Anonymous Group gets ready to start an electronic attack on the Israeli army and its government. A year ago, on the 7th of April, the first attack on the Israeli army and its government happened when thousands of the Anonymous Group members started hitting its electronic forts with non-traditional weapons. The weapons were computer viruses, organized hacking, programming sciences, and digital control that led to disabling official and regular websites. That led to difficulties facing of the Israeli occupation government and its army.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], VIP, Hacker of Gaza: We contacted the Anonymous Group for the previous campaign and contributed to the attack on Israeli websites through normal hacking. We mainly target the websites connected directly to economy that may make it collapse. We attacked stock exchange websites and the Israeli ministry of War. We targeted websites of e-shopping and we got the phone numbers or visa cards of the users, their personal emails, and the passwords of social media accounts.”

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Samoziko, Hacker of Gaza: Israel has admitted its financial losses because of the electronic attacks. We hacked some confidential military information or personal details that may not seem important. Some people may not realize the importance of such details of Israeli people, but they can be beneficial on a practical level if given to the Palestinian resistance and used in a proper way.”

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Anon, Hacker, Gaza: We have nothing with which to contribute as females. We can’t protest to express ourselves, or march towards Jerusalem among other things. So we thought of participating in these activities. We finally decided to join the hacking activity. That’s why we are part of this. We wanted to leave a sign there, that females act everywhere.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Mahmoud Abu Ghosh, Information Security Expert: Weak information security of the Israeli government and governmental and non-governmental organization makes the citizens trust their state and organization less, especially since Israel is considered a powerful country in the area of electronic information protection. So attacking a database and stopping some of the servers and websites makes Israel lose control of the army. This also makes the Israeli citizens trust the government and its organizations less.”

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Abu Yasser, Hacker, Kataeb Al-Aqsa: We have a special team that follows up with Israeli affairs, including the electronic resistance unit. This team attempts to hack Israeli websites, gathers information about the enemy, tries to weaken the Zionists’ morale, and sends those messages. The group also attacks websites and changes them, like changing the homepage, putting a logo of Palestine or a photo of a baby girl killed by the Israeli army, and then saying: ‘We’re coming to you’.

Narration: Wars and battles are connected to powder and fire in people’s minds. However, there are wars of another type that threaten to ease the state of the Israeli occupation from the internet. This includes attacking critical and important websites of countries that support this entity.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Samoziko, Hacker of Gaza: The electronic resistance is as important as the resistance in the field in the way it affects the enemy. We may attack its economy and cause great loss or disable some orders and instructions that can be used either in wartime or any other time.”

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Abu Fahed, Member of Gaza Hacker Team: We put the Palestinian flag on the websites of every Israeli party. That includes parties like the Likud, Kadima, the communist Israeli party, and Labor party. We attacked all those websites. In the day of the war on Gaza that was launched by the government of Kadimaparty, our first action was attacking their website and its leader’s website, TzipiLivni. We posted our message and the message of any Gazan citizen there; it included the crimes done by the occupation in Gaza and denied by the world, and some photos that insult their leader, TzipiLivni.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Anon, Hacker, Gaza: Four or five years ago, I and other people hacked An American Federal Website. We entered the database and platform and the list of the names of Guantanamo prisoners. As we were viewing the names, we saw a name of Palestinian. That was strange, Are there really Palestinian prisoners in Guantanamo? How did they get there? Some of the surnames we saw belong to Palestine.”

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Mahmoud Abu Ghosh, Information Security Expert: I was thinking of conducting a research because we are a nation under siege in the Gaza Strip, we are attacked on the internet on daily basis and our phone calls are bugged. I wanted to stop such attacks on the strip. I started searching and collecting information about the number of smart phones in the strip and how secure they are, either the new ones or the old ones. I also collected information about the security of wireless networks. I began to work in public places, banks, universities and places where smart phones and wireless networks are used.My research continued for a whole week, and I participated in a conference and shared its results and recommendations. There was a group of 120 Germans conducting a research similar to mine, but over three years.”

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Mahmoud Abu Ghosh, Information Security Expert: To my luck, my research results match the research results of the German team. Their study was done over three years in Germany, using modern facilities, while I worked in the Gaza strip for a week with humble tools.”

Narration: Through the research he conducted, Mahmoud could hit a record in the Guinness book of world Records as the “youngest information security scholar in the world”.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Mahmoud Abu Ghosh, Information Security Expert: The German magazine “Information Security” has published my research results and the research results of the German team. They then sent the recorded conference to Guinness World Records so that I could be the owner of a record. The administration of Guinness World Records was positive about it and sent an official letter to the magazine confirming that I had the title of the ‘youngest information security scholar in 2013’.”

Narration: The board of the Guinness Book of World Records sent an invitation with a plane ticket for Mahmoud to participate in the event listing his name in the central office in New York in the U.S.A. He was stunned by the reality of being deprived from traveling. However, it went beyond that when he started receiving threats putting his life in danger.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Mahmoud Abu Ghosh, Information Security Expert: They sent me plane tickets on January the 4th, 2014. The deadline of receiving the reward was the 9th of January, but unfortunately, I couldn’t travel because of the blockade and because I was not allowed to leave through Erez crosses or the Rafah crossing for security reasons. I used to receive daily threats on my phone form the Israeli Mossad. Those threats included threads of assassination as well as temptation.”

Narration: Mahmoud did not visit the States to receive his reward, while the young woman who attacked the FBI website was directly threatened from America. She had to change her identity and the life of her family.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Anon, Hacker, Gaza: “The websites’ owners discovered the hacking and then we faced some troubles. Some messages appeared on the computer screen every time we turned it on. The messages said we should surrender or give our database among other things or they will reach us either legally or illegally. They were the same threatening ways. As for America that has no interest in killing us, they can order Israel to assassinate us. Eventually, we replaced the device, the location, and phone numbers.

Narration: Many of those who resist the Israeli occupation and its supporters through the internet may survive. But others are targeted and arrested when they travel abroad

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], VIP, Hacker of Gaza: The hacker “Samoziko” attacked a website that was not an official FBI website, but it was for FBI officers. He attacked it and was able to get the names of many FBI officers, their phone numbers, and their personal emails’ addresses. When he left to a particular Arab country, he was surprised of being arrested and interrogated about that attack.”

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Samoziko, Hacker of Gaza: I was imprisoned in 2005 for a long time; more than 5 years. During the first year, I was interrogated and the agents used English Language. I could speak English thought. They mentioned that I and another man attacked a website in 2005 that had to do with the FBI. That website was only for the FBI agents who work in the Middle East. The interrogation lasted for a long time then I was kept in jail till I was released lately.”

TIME CODE: 20:00_26:10

Narration: Despite imprisonments and threats to electronic resistance, they continue their war against the Israeli occupation and its government. They resist the modern methods of tracking Palestinians like smart phones that turn out to be mobile agents.

  • SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Mahmoud Abu Ghosh, Information Security Expert:

    First of all, we figured out the location of the person: near Dabeetinter section. I will now hack his phone and have access to the information there and listen to his calls. We can listen to the call, and we’re recording it at the moment. He’s got a message now from a person called Mohammed Imad. After having access to his phone and controlling it, I can turn on the camera and see where he is. I mean watching the area he is in. Most of the devices in the Gaza Strip, either laptops or phones are hacked by the Zionists. The Mossad has established a special unit to filter the information of the Gaza Strip as there were great amounts of information. They want to use them to create spies or blackmail or the assassinate public figures.”

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Abu Yasser, Hacker, Kataeb Al-Aqsa: The intelligence units all over the world spend lots of money on online stores where users download applications to their phones. They do this to track people, and we also know that the Israeli Mossad spends money on applications like Viber, Skype, and what’s App. We are aware of these ways, so we don’t use them at all while all other nations use these applications. During the last war, how did Israel know about the locations of our hiding underground rockets? They knew about that through Facebook and Twitter. Some young people used to post things like: “A rocket was launched near my house”, a while later, the Israeli air force would hit the location of that place where rockets were lunched. We ask these young people not to be free agents or spy of the occupation. It’s not intentional of course, but they send free information to Israel.”

Narration: Another electronic tool used by the occupation to track Palestinians and kill them is the drones that hover in the sky day and night. They are used to watch what happens on the ground, or to

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Mahmoud Abu Ghosh, Information Security Expert: I was conducting a research on the networks in the Gaza Strip. It was confirmed that there are some wireless networks run by drones that work when power is off. However, the surprising part was that the drones run wireless networks for free; using names of local internet companies in the strip. I noticed they get information by using a particular protocol when the power is off.”

SOUNDBITE [English], Islam Shahwan, Spokesman, Ministry of the Interior at Gaza: The Palestinian resistance made sure it deals with drones, or the “planes without a pilot”, especially that they all depend on spying. The resistance misleads these drones, and it didn’t stop here. And this is what we actually witnessed. I think there were many attempts by all resistance factions to control drones and knock them down. As the resistance was creative in establishing hacking cells, they will seek doing this. This is a technical side the Palestinian resistance has the right to get.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], Anon, Hacker, Gaza: It’s easy to bring down a drone by hacking. It’s not something difficult. Iran has done this took a while ago. It just takes some time and effort. With the technology we have access to; it became easy to bring a drone down. By figuring out the I.P. of the original location of the drone, I can even get the camera records.”

Narration: It’s a real electronic war led by the factions of the Palestinian resistance and armies of Anonymous Arabs and Palestinians to erase the Israeli occupation from the internet.

SOUNDBITE [Arabic], VIP, Hacker of Gaza: We really want to erase this entity from earth, and not only from the internet. This operation affected the isolation of the Israeli citizens or army of using the internet for a long time.”

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