Middle Eastern cyber-attacks could affect businesses

Companies with Middle Eastern connections have been warned to be on their guard against fallout from malware or cyber-attacks resulting from the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bruce Jenkins, Fortify Software security expert and a retired US Air Force Major, said that a number of hacker groups from Iran, Lebanon, Morocco and Turkey had defaced a large number or websites.

He said that although in the past attacks had been focused on government and military targets, better cyberdefences had forced hackers to focus on weaker and less suspecting targets.

Jenkins said: "Basically this means that any company with an internet connection and which has perceived or rumoured connections with the two countries involved in this conflict or has links with allegedly partisan firms who are also connected could find their website and/or internet-connected systems under attack."

The expert claimed that thousands of companies on the web could be a target for hackers simply due to rumour and innuendo.

He said that as the attacks could be random, all companies should keep a close eye on its IT security, especially when it concerns software patching and unusual traffic patterns.

He added: "Given the fact that the internet is so pervasive, I think we could see some very driven hacking and cracking attacks on all manner of targets."

The Zero Day security blog said that thousands of pro-Israeli websites have already been defaced for the purpose of propaganda, using the exploitation of web application vulnerabilities.