Iranian cyber attacks on Israelis up 70%, ‘dozens’ of plots thwarted

Unnamed IDF official says Israel working overtime to mitigate the threat posed by Iranian hackers.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A senior Israeli military official revealed Wednesday that cyber attacks on civilian infrastructure originating from Iran have seen a major, 70 percent increase in the last year, with the IDF and defense and intelligence agencies working overtime to mitigate the threats.

“In recent years, the friction between Israel and its enemies has intensified,” said an unidentified senior IDF official in a statement made to Hebrew-language media outlets.

According to the official, Iran has stepped up its efforts to disrupt everything from medical centers to military operations via hacking.

“A few years from now, whoever controls cyber will win the war,” said IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi in a separate media statement.

“In contrast to all over fronts, [like] sea, air, and land…digital is everywhere,” he said. “Because [cyber attacks] can cross spheres, this is where the evolution [of warfare] is found.”

In July 2021, an Israeli security official publicly confirmed for the first time that Israel successfully thwarted an Iranian cyber attack on its water supply, though hackers from the Islamic Republic nearly succeeded in sickening hundreds of civilians.

Iranian-backed hacking group Black Shadow announced in October 2021 that it had compromised Israeli firm CyberServe, which hosts websites and provides data storage systems for a number of Israeli organizations, including the Dan bus company, public broadcaster Kan, Pegasus Tours and the Holon Children’s Museum.

After CyberServe refused to pay a ransom to keep the data private, the group released the names, phone numbers, emails, private photos, videos, and other data contained within apps and websites supported by the hosting company.

The Mor Medical Institute was also hacked by Black Shadow, and patients’ names, national identity numbers, requests for lab tests and, in some cases, sensitive medical data and test results were published on Wednesday.

Black Shadow used the Telegram platform to sell the credit card details of tens of thousands of Israelis, whose data was pulled from the various hacked sites.

In October 2021, a massive cyber attack rendered all systems at Hillel Yaffe medical center in Hadera unusable, an incident which was acknowledged in Wednesday’s statement.

“About a year ago, we received a report of a cyber attack targeting the Hillel Yaffe Hospital. Our operational teams started working swiftly,” said Major Y, who was identified only by his first initial.

“A few days later, thanks to diligent and precise work, we resolved the incident and the systems returned to operation without damage.”