April 9, Updated April 10

Israel was the number one target in the world for hackers in 2023.

The massacre of 1,200 people by Hamas, and the subsequent war in Gaza, prompted a huge spike in attacks by hacktivists – hackers with an activist agenda – according to a Global Threat Report published on March 25 by cybersecurity firm Radware.

In 2023 Israel suffered 1,480 Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) cyberattacks, in which hackers try to overwhelm a computer system with a flood of internet traffic. As such, it was the victim of almost one in eight of all DDoS attacks globally during the year. India was second with 1,242, followed by the US, Ukraine, Poland and Germany.

Israel’s cyber industry racks up all-time record exits amid ongoing conflict
Cybertech conference founder Amir Rapaport. Photo by Cybertech.

Israel’s cybersecurity sector racked up an all-time record of just over $7.1 billion in exits – the sale of a company’s ownership or stocks – during 2023.

Though the year may have been dominated by civil unrest over judicial reforms, the October 7th massacre and the war in Gaza, geopolitical tensions are known to increase interest and investment in cybersecurity companies — which offer protection from increasingly sophisticated attacks — even as other sectors suffer.

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The biggest single DDoS attack was on 7 October, the day of Hamas’s attack on Israel, when hacktivists targeted websites and mobile apps which were supposed to alert civilians to rocket attacks.

New tactics first introduced in 2022, after Russia invaded Ukraine, spread widely during 2023, the report says.

“Israel was the country most targeted by hacktivists in 2023,” said Ron Meyran, cyber intelligence manager at Radware. “In the first half of 2023, Israel was the target of pro-Islamic hacktivists. These groups, drawing motivation from pro-Russian hacktivists’ activity in 2022, targeted Israel.”

Israel was the number one cyber attack target in 2023
Cap radware: A screenshot of Radware’s website.

In the second half of 2023, Israel became the target of pro-Palestinian hacktivists following the conflict between Israel and Hamas, said Meyran.

Hacktivist-driven DDoS activity hit record levels in October of 2023, as an immediate response to events in Israel and Gaza; globally the number of DDoS attacks, and the level of their sophistication, is growing at an alarming rate.

The pro-Russian NoName057(16) was the biggest single bad actor, responsible for over a quarter of all DDoS attacks last year, according to the report, followed by Mysterious Team, Anonymous Sudan, Team Insane Pakistan and the Cyber Army of Russia.

Radware’s report noted that hackers whose first motivation was ideological are now realizing there’s big money to be made, and are selling their services to the highest bidders.

Israel was the number one cyber attack target in 2023
A map of the world. Photo by mapsandphotos/Shutterstock.

“Throughout 2023, we observed a significant growth in DDoS-for-hire services on Telegram,” said the cybersecurity firm. “A good portion of these new services are Russian-speaking.” 

Government websites were the single biggest target, with 2,694 claimed DDoS attacks, according to Radware’s analysis of Telegram traffic.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

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