Israeli students’ site hack makeover calls for end to cyberwar

Israeli students’ site hack makeover calls for end to cyberwar

Students at Tel Aviv’s Habefezer School of Art and Advertising have declared war on ugly site defacements, repackaging and firing back Arab hackers’ anti-Israeli protests with “gorgeous” webpages.

“Hackers, cheer up: If you can’t fight them, Redesign them,” is the message of the The Better Looking Hatred campaign, developed by McCann Digital Israel’s VP of creative, Nir Refuah, copywriter Tal Schweiger, and art director Nir Hersztadt.

The students redesigned 50 defaced sites “!!!Own3d!!!” by Arab hackers, sent them back by email and through hacker forums and have made them available for use in future site defacements.

The design students reject the shoddy design work common to thousands of site defacements by non-Arab and Arab hackers alike that are archived by Zone H.

“All the hacker groups use the same ugly template in their replaced site designs: Black background, photos from Google, bad fonts and low resolution…. so we acted,” Refuah explains on BuzzFeed.

The product the students sent back to the hackers were by contrast "gorgeous" and free to us. "We would like to end all cyber wars. but in the meantime - if you must hack our sites, at least leave something beautiful,” was the message they sent Arab hackers.

None of the student’s designs have been used yet in site defacements, according to a Business Insider report, which posted several more designs here. The Cannes Festival’s Inspiration Room blog has also posted a number of the redesigns.

The student’s message goes beyond defacements and calls for an end to “all cyber wars between Israel and Arab nations”.

However, calling on citizen hackers to end all “cyber wars” might be a message more appropriately directed at governments that are investing in manpower to develop cyber weapons like the US and Israeli built Stuxnet.

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