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Judaism.com attacked from Iranian IP address

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Mezuzah from Judaismcom
Mezuzah from Judaism.com

Judaism.com was attacked from an Iranian IP address on Thursday, December 1 according to Shlomo Perelman, who owns and operates the Pittsburgh company.  That same evening Mr. Perelman notified my wife via email and a telephone call, suggesting that she inform our credit card company of this.  He assured her that the Hanukkah candles that she ordered would be shipped in a timely manner.

We regret to inform you that at approximately 3 am Thursday morning, Judaism.com was hacked, from an IP address in Iran.

We advise you to immediately notify your credit card company of this incident. Thank G-d, we believe that it would be very difficult for your credit card to [be] used from that location without your bank having already alerted you.

For over 15 years, Judaism.com has maintained the highest level of online security and this is the first occurrance [sic] of its kind.

If you have any questions, feel free to call me personally at [snip].

Judaism.com sells what it calls “essential Judaica,” which includes items such as imprinted kippot (skullcaps) for weddings and bar mitzvahs, kosher wines and a small but amusing collection of “pet Judaica.”  The site was completely inaccessible on Friday.  On Saturday typing “Judaism” into your browser displayed a message claiming that the site was down because of “routine maintenance” and that Judaism.com would be operational on Sunday.  The maintenance must have been more difficult than anticipated.  The site was not restored until Tuesday afternoon.  There was neither mention of Iran or hackers nor any indication of the four-day disappearance of Judaism from cyberspace.

I understand that I could be accused of taking pleasure in someone else’s troubles, but I found this incident risible.  Could the cyber-attack on Mr. Perelman’s web site be a small part of a larger organized government campaign from Teheran to retaliate for the Stuxnet virus and various other assaults which are now generally recognized to be part of an American/Israeli effort to punish or overthrow the Iranian regime?  Or could the attack have been perpetrated by a young Iranian seller of Islamic religious paraphernalia who erroneously believes harming Judaism.com is an appropriate Muslim response to the Israeli threats to bomb Teheran nuclear facilities?  The possibility that my Hanukkah candle order could become collateral damage in a nasty covert war being waged between Israel and the United States against Iran made me laugh.

I have had three short telephone conversations with Mr. Perelman who refuses to be interviewed about the attack.  He did tell me that he had informed the FBI and that they were currently attempting to find the culprit(s).  I wonder what the Feds would be able to do if they locate the hackers in Iran.

When I first heard Shlomo Perelman had called about the digital intrusion, I imagined newspaper headlines such as “Iranians Attack Judaism, Israel Vows It Will Retaliate.”  Shlomo, not surprisingly, did not see the humor in the situation.  Although his website was fully restored on Tuesday afternoon, December 6, and he indicated that the monetary loss incurred was not too bad, Shlomo Perelman still feared that if the cyber-attack became widely known it would somehow hurt business and the image of Judaism.

To my Jewish readers:  Judaism.com actually has some nice stuff.  Check out the menorahs and Jewish calendars.  Just remember to observe the Palestinian boycott campaign and make sure nothing you buy is made in Israel or by settlers from the Occupied Territories.

Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY. His twitter handle is @abushalom

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15 Responses

  1. on December 13, 2011, 12:04 pm

    Isreal is still looking for a pretext, en excuse to attack.
    Every little bit helps??

  2. hophmi on December 13, 2011, 1:45 pm

    What so funny is that you still don’t see how antisemitic the regime is.

    • Mndwss on December 13, 2011, 2:59 pm

      What is so not funny is how tragic it is that you still don’t see how anti-arab/muslim/christian/human the israeli regime is…

      • Justice Please on December 14, 2011, 7:15 am

        The right answer would have been that the Iranian government is not anti-Jewish, but anti-Zionist.

      • hophmi on December 15, 2011, 9:29 am

        And attacking sites like Judaism.com is anti-Zionist, right? ;-)

    • anonymouscomments on December 13, 2011, 11:24 pm

      Sounds like yet again world Jewry is immune to the preferences of Jews in a given country. My cousin is married to a Persian Jew, and his family just visited from IRAN. They said that times were good, and people (and especially Jews) abroad do not know what they are talking about. They returned to Iran, but if they wanted, I am sure the whole family could have claimed to be refugees and stayed in the USA (or of course gone to Israel).

      Wake up and breath in the reality. Sorry, reality is tough for committed Zionists who seem to yearn for the day all Jews sit in their self-made ghetto.

  3. ehrens on December 13, 2011, 1:45 pm

    What proof did Mr. Perelman offer of having been attacked from Iran? Web logs with IP addresses? But were they verified by anyone, a journalist perhaps? I find it odd that Mr. Perelman refused to be interviewed. If I had to place his story on a scale of “B” for believable to “F” for fabricated, I’d give him the failing grade.

    • Ira Glunts on December 13, 2011, 3:12 pm

      Ehrens,

      You asked the question that would have been on the top of my list if Mr. Perelman consented to an interview.

      I have notified Mr. Perelman of my post. I hope he will visit here and tell us more about the incident.

      • anonymouscomments on December 13, 2011, 11:29 pm

        It could always be a sayan from Iran, as I have Jewish in-laws there. Or the MEK. Or a paid random. Or a hacked PC. Everything is now so convoluted we cannot trust a thing related to Iran.

  4. Woody Tanaka on December 13, 2011, 2:08 pm

    I would say that if this is true, that the persons responsible for this should have to pay any losses incurred. By all accounts, this man is wholly innocent, regardless of any grievances Iranians might have with Israel or Israelis.

  5. MRW on December 13, 2011, 3:11 pm

    “He did tell me that he had informed the FBI and that they were currently attempting to find the culprit(s).”

    But Perelman already claims to know the IP address of the culprit (supposedly an Iranian national).

    Before you swallow this possible BS in future, consider a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Check one out here: http://www.witopia.net. Could be how they got the stuxnet in. The boogeyman email ain’t passing my smell test.

    • Ira Glunts on December 13, 2011, 4:30 pm

      MRW,

      I think you lack a sense of irony. But do not worry, it is not a permanent condition.

      Best,

      Ira

      • MRW on December 13, 2011, 11:19 pm

        Actually, Ira, the swallow comment was not addressed to you under any circumstances; you obviously picked up on the entire thing. In fact, I should have done two things. (1) put a dividing line before “Before” because it was a completely different line of thought. (2) recast that damn paragraph to mean what I intended, which was a general comment that it’s so easy to spoof a location…just take a look at witopia, etc. That’s what you get when you write emails while on a dull conference call. ;-)

      • Ira Glunts on December 14, 2011, 5:44 am

        MRW,

        Thanks for taking the time to make the clarification. I appreciate it.

        Ira

  6. kma on December 14, 2011, 11:16 pm

    I once naively thought that the FBI cared as much about internet crime aimed at ANY of us. I found out they didn’t. now I know to blame it on an Iranian IP address and say it’s anti-semitism.

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