Expert Palestinian Hacker Indicted for Hacking Israeli Drones and CCTV Systems
An Israeli judge has indicted the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) movement’s main, expert hacker from the Gaza Strip for breaking into Israeli military drone camera systems for Islamic militants and collecting details of civilian aircraft movements.
The Palestinian hacker, Maaged Ben Juwad Oydeh, was formally charged by the judge at the Beersheba District Court after he was arrested by Israeli forces earlier this year. The indictment filed by the Southern District Attorney’s Office also charged Oydeh with hacking into video cameras of the IDF, the police and the Road Safety Authority, allowing the terrorist group to study the location of civilians and IDF personnel in real-time as it was firing rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip. He was also charged with spying, conspiracy, membership in an illegal organization, and contact with enemy agents.
Oydeh’s hacking also allowed Islamic Jihad to keep track of the movement of airplanes at Ben-Gurion Airport, to view the passenger lists on incoming and outgoing flights, the type of airplane and its weight and landing and departure times, the indictment said.
As the Jerusalem Post reports based on court documents, Oydeh was recruited by PIJ as a teenager and was first tasked with managing PIJ’s radio station, where he first started receiving a monthly salary from the group.
Eventually, his technical skills got polished and he learned to hack CCTV cameras that were installed on roads in Israel. After witnessing his talent in hacking, PIJ’s leadership first asked Oydeh to hack into Israel’s Road Safety Authority, so the group leader could see video feeds from road cameras on his laptop.
Seeing that the new guy has talent, the group then asked Oydeh to hack IDF (Israel Defense Forces) UAVs (drones), which means drones. His first two attempts yield no success, which he managed to achieve after the third try in 2011.
The objective of targeting IDF’s UAVs was to pinpoint the position of IDF drones and even see their video feeds. However, when IDF updated their UAVs by the IDF in 2014, Oydeh’s hacking technique could no longer obtain video feeds.
Later on, in 2013, Oydeh was given the task of hacking into cell phones operating on the Palestinian Jawwal mobile network as well as Israel’s Orange Mobile and Cellcom networks so that PIJ could find out Israeli spies who were hiding in Gaza. However, Oydeh only managed to hack Jawwal’s network.
In the same year, the Ben-Gurion Airport was also hacked by Oydeh in 2013, as the group wanted to view video feeds, access information on flights, and even plan rocket strikes against certain airplanes. At one point in 2013, PIJ also secured a training session in Iran so that Oydeh could improve his skills, but the deal fell apart right at the end.
In 2015, Oydeh hacked into the Israel Interior Ministry’s records to help Islamic Jihad learn details about potential recruits and to better check the commitment of Islamic Jihad agents to the organization.
Oydeh continued to repair and upgrade Islamic Jihad’s computers, video cameras and other technologies until his arrest by Israel in 2016.