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Netvision CEO: Hacker Attacks on Israeli Websites Continuing

The recent spate of hacker attacks on prominent Israeli websites is part of a global problem with no short-term solution, Gilad Rabinovich, CEO of Israeli ISP Netvision, said at a symposium at Ben Gurion University.

"Let me be clear, there is no such thing as an immune site," Rabinovich said. Netvision, which according to the company hosts about 60 percent of Israeli websites including those of the government, has had to handle global attacks from individuals and parties interested in disrupting Israeli Internet traffic for political gain "on a weekly basis," he said.

The troubles began at the beginning of the recent outbreak of violence between Israeli and Palestinian forces at the end of September, Rabinovich said. pro-Israel hackers decided to break into radical Islamic sites and disrupt their traffic.

"We were to learn that [the pro-Arab] hackers were no less clever than pro-Israel ones and more numerous," Rabinovich said.

The resulting onslaught of attacks on Israeli websites, primarily but not exclusively in the form of "denial of service" schemes, overloaded many sites, resulting in their temporary closure, he said. Sites that have been attacked since September include official government sites such as the Knesset and the Israel Defense Forces. Prominent commercial sites have also been targeted, such as The Jerusalem Post.

Rabinovich did not elaborate about the techniques Netvision employs to keep besieged sites up and running, although he said it ias a complicated routine.

Rabinovich was a participant in the symposium, "New Media and Cyberwars," sponsored by the Burda Center for Innovative Communications. The symposium drew a panel of guests from the Israeli Internet and academic communities.

Michael Eitan of the Knesset Internet Committee called for aggressive legislation to crack down on attacks on websites, a view Rabinovich agreed with. However, Rabinovich went further, emphasizing the regulation would have to be employed on a global scale.

"The potential for cyberattacks will probably continue for the next several years and will stop only when there will be concerted international cooperation and regulation to prevent it," he said. Until then, the vulnerability will persist.

"At the end of the day, every site is penetrable," Rabinovich said.