“Hacktivists” disable Israeli military websites; not so, its just a computer crash, says government

[Recently the “hacktivist” group “Anonymous” announced they would carry out a cyber-hacker attacks on  Israeli government and military websites in response to the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza, and the stoppage of the latest of humanitarian aid flotillas to Gaza.  Today, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported government confirmation that their websites had gone down, but denied that it was a “hacktivist” attack, saying it was only a technical failure.  Hmmm. — Frontlines ed.]

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Israel government denies cyber-attack, says malfunction brought down websites

Websites of IDF, Mossad, Shin Bet security service and government ministries crash following hacking group’s threat to retaliate for Gaza flotilla interception.

By Oded Yaron , Ha’aretz

 6.11.11

The Israeli government denied on Sunday that a cyber-attack was the reason several websites went down, including those of the IDF, Mossad, Shin Bet security service and government ministries. IDF spokesman said there was most likely a malfunction with the servers.

The government Facebook page posted a message saying: “Due to a systematic malfunction of the (government website system’s) servers, some of the government websites and services have not been accessible in the last few hours.” Carmela Avner, head of the government website system, said that “this is a technical problem that is being handled by all relevant means and all resources are being used …to fix the problem.”

The websites’ crash came after the international cabal of hackers known as Anonymous threatened a cyber-attack on the Israeli government’s computers in response to its interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla on Friday.

In a video that was uploaded to YouTube, Anonymous warns that if the siege on Gaza is maintained, it will have no choice but to go on the attack.

Anonymous said that if the siege continues and Israeli forces intercept additional flotillas, or if they conduct additional operations such as the commandeering of the Mavi Marmara, it will have no alternative but to launch repeated cyber-attacks on Israeli computer systems until the siege ends.

Homeland Security systematizing-federalizing the police repression of BART protests

August 30, 2011

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Justice Department, Homeland Security personnel present at #OpBART protests

Officers from a Department of Homeland Security Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response unit in the Civic Center BART station on August 29, 2011. photo by Geoff King

Amongst the dozens of riot gear-clad San Francisco and BART police officers that have packed Downtown San Francisco streets during the OpBART protests for the past three Mondays, you may have spotted some officers wearing khaki slacks and bulletproof vests, a far cry from the heavy duty helmets and body armor worn by officers from other agencies.

Those lightly-clad officers were part of a Department of Homeland Security Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) unit, an anti-terror unit charged with protecting transportation infrastructure from potential acts of terrorism. VIPR units are run by the Transportation Security Administration. According to the TSA’s website, VIPR teams are terrorism deterrents that “a random, announced, high-visibility surge into a transit agency, in addition to enhancing agency resources during special events.” VIPR teams have been deployed more than 50 times since the program began in 2005, and regularly patrol New York’s Metro North and Long Island Railroad commuter systems. Continue reading