Beirut’s international airport faced a cyber-attack on Sunday, January 8, reportedly orchestrated by domestic anti-Hezbollah groups. The attack comes amid escalating tensions between Hezbollah and the Israeli military.
Departure and arrival screens were compromised, displaying a message accusing Hezbollah of jeopardizing Lebanon with the possibility of all-out war with Israel, according to an updated published on Sunday by the Associated Press (AP).
The message, accompanied by logos from the hardline Christian group Soldiers of God and a lesser-known entity named The One Who Spoke, also warned Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, about losing support if a war ensued.
Notably, the Christian group refuted any connection, while the second group posted images of the screens on its social media platforms. Several travelers also published photos and videos of the hacked screens on social media.
BREAKING: Cyberattack at Beirut Airport – screens inside airport show a message to Hizbollah – warning them not to take Lebanon into war or bring weaponry through the airport: “Raik Hariri Aiport is not an airport of Hizbollah and Iran. It was signed by “Soldiers of God”. pic.twitter.com/m3nHcUt3Mi
— Michael Dickson (@michaeldickson) January 7, 2024
The incident adds a cyber dimension to the already heightened hostilities. Hezbollah has been launching attacks on Israeli military positions since October 8, reciprocated by Israeli strikes on Hezbollah locations one day after the beginning of the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza.
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Tensions peaked following an Israeli strike in southern Beirut that killed top Hamas official Saleh Arouri. In response, Hezbollah’s leader, Nasrallah, vowed retaliation, denying a desire for a full-scale war but asserting readiness for an unrestrained conflict if initiated by Israel. Hezbollah’s “initial response” involved firing 62 rockets toward an Israeli air surveillance base on Mount Meron.
The Lebanese government, along with the international community, is striving to avert a war that could have regional consequences, AP wrote. The airport cyber-attack briefly disrupted baggage inspections, with passengers documenting the incident on social media. The 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah included the bombing of Lebanon’s airport by Israel.
The hack underscores the multifaceted nature of modern conflicts, intertwining cyber warfare with traditional military actions. As Lebanon grapples with internal strife and external threats, the cybersecurity landscape takes on added significance in shaping the course of events.