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

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. 

“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.” 

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