Yes, technology is also making the world a better place — medical advancements, improved connectivity, and democratized information instantly spring to mind as plusses in its corner.
But as war envelops Israel this week, technology’s power to magnify the failings of humankind has been readily on display as bad actors, using an array of high-tech tools, have deepened the crisis.
Cyberattacks have spread misinformation, cut off reliable information, and limited public utilities
In addition to Hamas’ deadly attacks on the ground, hackers targeted Israeli infrastructure, per SecurityWeek:
- Emergency warning systems were temporarily offline.
- A power grid organization, power plant, and the nation’s largest electrical supplier were all targeted.
- Attacks were made on Israeli government websites.
The RedAlert app, which sends citizens real-time alerts about rocket launches, was also compromised, resulting in one particularly awful fake alert about an incoming nuclear bomb.
Hackers also went after The Jerusalem Post, Israel’s largest English-language daily newspaper, taking down its website “several times.”
- This all says nothing about the continued demise of X (formerly Twitter) as the world’s go-to breaking news platform. It’s well documented by now why it isn’t the avenue it once was for reliable reporting, but it’s brutal seeing it come to a head in this moment of crisis, as the epicenter of what Axios called “a misinformation storm.”
When Hamas punctured the Middle East’s fragile peace this week, it was cryptocurrency that made it possible
Hamas and two other groups linked to the attack — Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah — have been designated foreign terrorist organizations by the US government, which limits their access to international banking systems.
They bypassed those institutions via crypto, funding their attacks using digital wallets, per The Wall Street Journal. The PIJ and Hamas have raised up to $93m and $41m, respectively, in crypto since August 2021.
Israeli police reportedly froze more terror-linked digital accounts yesterday, but it’ll likely remain a game of Whac-A-Mole unless leading crypto exchanges crack down on financial crimes.
One more thing: This week proved how technology can be manipulated for nefarious purposes, but it also proved yet another vulnerability in a tech-forward world: technological overreliance.
Defense experts believe Israel’s focus on high-tech intelligence-gathering methods and advanced weaponry made it susceptible to a surprise low-tech ground assault.
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