The Terrorist Organization Hamas Is Massively Involved In Cybercrime & Scams – To Fund Their Activities And To Disrupt Their Enemies!
Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamist militant and political organization that has a social service wing, Dawah that is massively involved in cybercrime. It has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, Canada, Japan, and Israel.
How Is Hamas Involved In Cybercrime & Cyberterrorism
Hamas is known to use a variety of funding methods, including cybercrime:
- Taxes and levies: Hamas imposes taxes and levies on businesses and individuals in the Gaza Strip, where it controls the local government.
- Donations: Hamas receives donations from individuals and organizations around the world, including from Iran and other Muslim-majority countries.
- Smuggling: Hamas smuggles goods into and out of the Gaza Strip, including weapons and other contraband.
- Cybercrime: Hamas is also known to use cybercrime to generate revenue. In 2018, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) accused Hamas of using a network of fake websites and social media accounts to steal credit card information from Israelis.
It is difficult to estimate the percentage of Hamas’s revenue that comes from cybercrime, as the organization does not disclose its financial information. However, experts believe that cybercrime is a significant source of income for Hamas. In 2017, a report by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point Military Academy estimated that Hamas was generating up to $10 million per year from cybercrime.
Hamas’s use of cybercrime is a major concern for the international community. Cyberattacks can have a devastating impact on businesses and individuals, and they can also be used to fund terrorist activities. The international community must work together to combat Hamas’s use of cybercrime and to prevent the organization from using this type of activity to fund its terrorist activities.
Hamas’s cyber capabilities will continue to advance, and the group will likely continue to leverage these tools in ways that will wield maximum influence over the information environment. Understanding how Hamas’s strategy and incentive structure guides its decision to leverage offensive cyber operations can provide insights, on a wider scale, about how non-state actors develop and implement cyber tools, and how the United States and its allies may be better able to counter these trends.
The use of cyber-warfare enables terror organizations and weak nations to take advantage of an asymmetric domain in which military, economic and technological gaps are far less important. Thus, weak players can operate effectively against much stronger ones.
Hamas, a terror organization that is a rather weak sub-state actor mainly with respect to its military capabilities, and certainly relative to those of Israel, is taking advantage of the cyber domain in order to attack Israel with the limited means at its disposal.
According to Reuters
Hamas affiliated Hacktivist groups say they are hitting Israeli targets online amid the war in Israel and Gaza, disrupting and defacing websites like the Jerusalem Post.
The conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors routinely attracts both intense global interest and politically minded hackers – dubbed hacktivists – who piggyback on the fighting, either to support their favored side or simply get attention.
“There are dozens of victims per day, claimed by both pre-established and new (hacktivist) groups,” cyber intelligence firm Recorded Future said.
Types of Cybercrimes & Cyberterrorism Hamas Commits
Hamas is engaged in a variety of cybercrime/cyberterrorist activities, including:
- Phishing attacks: Hamas uses phishing emails to trick people into revealing their personal information, such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and passwords.
- Malware attacks: Hamas uses malware to infect people’s computers and steal their data. Hamas has been known to use a variety of malware strains, including ransomware, Trojans, and spyware.
- DDoS attacks: Hamas uses DDoS attacks to overwhelm websites and servers, making them unavailable to users. Hamas has used DDoS attacks to target Israeli government and military websites, as well as websites of businesses that it believes are supporting Israel.
- Romance & Relationship scams: It is possible that Hamas operatives use social media to commit romance or relationship scams. For example, Hamas operatives have been found to create fake social media profiles and pose as potential romantic partners. The operative could use this fake profile to gain the victim’s trust and then steal their money or personal information.
Hamas targets a variety of people with its cybercrime activities, including:
- Civilians: Hamas has been known to target civilians with phishing attacks and malware attacks. Hamas may target civilians in order to steal their personal information or to infect their computers with malware that can be used to steal data or to launch DDoS attacks.
- Businesses: Hamas has also been known to target businesses with cybercrime activities. Hamas may target businesses in order to steal their trade secrets or to disrupt their operations.
- Government and military agencies: Hamas has also targeted government and military agencies with cybercrime activities. Hamas may target government and military agencies in order to steal sensitive information or disrupt their operations.
It is important to note that Hamas is not the only terrorist organization that is engaged in cybercrime. Other terrorist organizations, such as ISIS and al-Qaeda, have also been known to use cybercrime to fund their activities. For example, Al Qaeda was heavily involved in scams starting in the late 1990s.
The international community must work together to combat Hamas’s use of cybercrime and to prevent the organization from using this type of activity to fund its terrorist activities.
An Advisory To Scam Victims
In addition to the above safety guidelines, it is important to note that Hamas is a designated terrorist organization by many countries. This means that it is illegal to provide financial support to Hamas or to engage in any activities that could be construed as supporting Hamas.
Unknowingly, many scam victims may actually be helping to fund Hama and other terrorist organizations through the money stolen from them in scams. Victims want to be very careful to report all scams to their local police to make sure that their innocence is recorded, otherwise, if the money they sent did end up in the hands of a terrorist organization they do not face any complications or liability from it.