This weekend, violence between Israel and Gaza escalated to a degree not seen since 2014, with 25 Palestinians and four Israelis killed in the fighting. Decades into the entrenched tensions of the region, the incident overall was tragically unsurprising. But for cybersecurity professionals, one aspect particularly stood out: The Israeli Defense Forceclaimed that it bombed and partially destroyed one building in Gaza because it was allegedly the base of an active Hamas hacking group.
The assault seems to be the first true example of a physical attack being used as a real-time response to digital aggression—another evolution of so-called “hybrid warfare.” That makes it a landmark moment, but one that analysts caution must be viewed in the context of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, rather than as a standalone global harbinger.
State-backed hacking and physical warfare have been on a slow but steady path toward convergence for about two decades, and both information security and warfare researchers say that it was only a matter of time before a nation launched a kinetic attack against enemy hackers.