Pro-Palestinian hackers stole the personal information of hundreds of thousands of Israeli students and began leaking it online, including names, phone numbers, email addresses and home addresses.
The cyber attack was announced by a group calling itself DragonForce Malaysia in a post on its website. In a message posted to a forum on the site, the group called on hackers, human rights organizations and activists to launch a campaign against Israel, which it has repeatedly referred to as “Israel”.
Students’ details were initially shared on Malaysian groups using the Telegram app.
Infiltrators linked the leak to the 11-day Israeli fighting with Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.
It appears that the Malaysian hackers behind the data breach obtained information from AcadeMe, one of the country’s largest recruitment networks for students and graduates looking for work. AcadeMe works with leading institutes of higher education including Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Tel Aviv University, The Open University, Bar Ilan University, the Technion, Haifa University as well as many colleges.
Cyber security expert May Brooks Kimbler, who runs the Think Cyber Safe group on Facebook, is investigating the extent of the breach. Brooks-Kempler found that details of about 280,000 students from 2014 to the present were leaked as well as about 100,000 email addresses.
It warned that the details could be used in cyberattacks focused on those who signed up for AcadeMe and advised users to change passwords and be alert for any suspicious emails, text messages or phone calls they might receive.
In December last year, a hacking group calling itself the Black Shadow broke into Shirbit Insurance to steal customer details and demand a ransom or will post the data online. The company refused to pay and the hackers later said they had sold the information on the dark web.