In December 2020, Lebanon was rocked by a mysterious hack carried out by a group of hackers known as SpiderZ. The hack resulted in the leak of details of almost 400,000 accounts associated with al-qard al-hasan – a semi-banking financial institution that identifies itself as a charity and grants loans to the Shia community in Lebanon. The hackers, who called themselves SpiderZ and operated under the guise of Anonymous, shared dramatic videos and documents that exposed the true activities of the association and its connection to the terrorist organization Hezbollah.
The dramatic uncovering revealed details about the value of the loans, repayment ratio, personal information about borrowers, and the total budget of the institution and its branches in 2019-2020. In addition, SpiderZ sent private messages to customers urging them to withdraw their money and stop paying their loans. They also revealed information about Hezbollah members who deposit their money in al-qard al-hasan – including notable figures.
The association claimed that the hack was an act of treason and an intelligence attack and tried to disassociate themselves from any connection to Hezbollah. However, history has detailed al-qard al-hasan as Hezbollah’s main banking institution. The magnitude of money passing through this bank is estimated at billions of dollars, with 400,000 accounts held by customers worldwide. The bank’s method for transferring funds is usually done in cash or crypto but also has an extensive network smuggling in Latin America for generating hundreds of millions per year for funding military operations.
The faltering economy of Lebanon has only strengthened Hezbollah’s power as well as reinforced its “resistance society” message among Shiite communities worldwide. Alkarch al-Hassan entered into this vacuum in order to sustain life within this community during tough times. According to reports from Intelligence Center for Intelligence and Terrorism (ICIT), there is intense social activity among Shiite communities worldwide aiming to transform it into a resistance society supporting Hezbollah and its campaign against Israel. The economic situation in Lebanon has affected both Hezbollah and Shia residents; however, they have additional sources of income not related to government like 75% ($75 million) from Iran’s annual budget which comes directly into their pockets without any taxes or fees being deducted from it.