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Hamas’ cyber terror is a test case for other non-state players, report says

Israel says terror group Hamas' cyberwarfare unit poses a growing threat to the country.  

JERUSALEM, Israel — Iranian-backed Palestinian terror group Hamas, the de facto rulers of the impoverished Gaza Strip, is stepping up its cyber activities against Israel. And it’s time for Western nations, including the U.S., to take such threats more seriously, a report published recently by Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council has found. 

According to the report authored by non-resident fellow Simon Handler, while the U.S. overwhelmingly focuses its cybersecurity concerns on the “big four” nation-state adversaries — China, Russia, Iran and North Korea — non-state actors are becoming increasingly organized and efficient in cyber warfare. 

Hamas, a designated terror organization according to the U.S., is a clear test case for what such groups are capable of and, writes Handler, “is an emerging and capable cyber actor.” 

Handler highlights how Hamas, which has fought numerous wars with Israel and carried out countless terror attacks against its civilians, has not necessarily shifted its overall goals – to terminate what it views as the illegitimate state of Israel and establish an Islamic, Palestinian state in its place – but rather has now harnessed advanced high-tech terror options in its fight. 


Israel says terror group Hamas’ cyberwarfare unit poses a growing threat to the country.  
(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Files)

“In other words, offensive cyber operations are a new way for Hamas to do old things better,” notes the report, urging “the policy community to think differently about how it approaches similar non-state groups that may leverage the cyber domain in the future.” 

“I think that the U.S. and everybody else should be concerned because terrorists are using the internet,” Brigadier General (Res.) Yossi Kupperwasser, a senior researcher at the Israel Defense and Security Forum, commented in an interview with Fox News Digital. “What Hamas does against Israel can be done by other terror groups and against other targets.” 

The report notes that “a robust online presence is essential for modern terrorist organizations. They rely on the internet to recruit members, fund operations, indoctrinate target audiences and garner attention on a global scale — all key functions for maintaining organizational relevance and for surviving.”

Kupperwasser, a former head of the Israeli army’s Military Intelligence Assessment Division, said the…

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