The suspect was planning to infect Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s computer with spyware and send sensitive information to Iranian entities.
By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News
A housekeeping employee at Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s private residence was arrested on espionage charges, Hebrew media reported Thursday.
According to his indictment, Omri Goren Korokovsky, 37, who was employed as a housekeeper at Gantz’s home, was planning to infect the minister’s computer with spyware and send sensitive information to Iranian entities.
The suspect went as far as contacting members of the Iran-affiliated Black Shadow hacker group via the messaging app Telegram, and asked that they provide him with software that would allow him to gain access to Gantz’s computer, the indictment read. His contact with the hackers through Telegram is what eventually led to his arrest, despite attempting to cover his tracks by deleting the conversations, Kan News reported.
During his interrogation, the suspect confessed to taking pictures of several items in Gantz’s house and obtaining photos that he later sent to the hackers in order to prove that he had access and could get the job done.
One of the pictures provided by the suspect was released by the Iranian hackers in late October.
ביבי: “האקרים איראנים מחזיקים בידיהם תמונות של בני גנץ שיגרמו לו מבוכה קשה”.
התמונות המביכות של בני גנץ: pic.twitter.com/Ggnp6z1AYg
— Amit Gilboa (@F4TMONK3Y) October 27, 2021
According to the Shin Bet, the suspect was not able to access any classified information before being arrested, due to information security procedures in place in Gantz’s residence.
The indictment noted that the suspect has extensive criminal history that includes five prior convictions in 14 different cases, including two attempted bank robberies, for which he has served four years in prison.
Considering his prior criminal record, it is unclear at this point how the suspect was able to pass the security clearance required for being employed at the private residence of Israel’s defense minister.
According to Attorney Gal Wolf, who represents Korokovsky, his client had no intention of harming Israel’s national security and did what he did due to “economic distress.”
The Black Shadow hacker group has made headline in Israel after hacking into several Israeli companies and websites and releasing sensitive information of hundreds of thousands of Israelis.