On Monday, the Israeli government declared a state of emergency after many of their websites went down in what appears to be a major cyberattack. The sites that were affected by this alleged attack include those of the interior, health, justice, and welfare ministries, along with the Prime Minister’s Office website. This incident is the largest ever cyber attack ever carried out on Israel.
Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel reported that officials are hard at work to fix the damage done by the attack to the pages on Israel’s gov.il domain.
“Operations have been carried out by communications companies in order to return the service as soon as possible, and the service is gradually returning,” said the Communications Ministry. “The ministry will continue to monitor [the situation] until full restoration.”
After an hour of the government websites being inaccessible for about an hour, the sites slowly came back online.
NetBlocks, a “global internet monitor”, tweeted that a “significant disruption has been registered on multiple networks supplied by Israel’s leading providers Bezaq and Cellcom as the country’s defense authorities and National Cyber Directorate declare a state of emergency.”
The tweet also included a graph that shows the disruption in connectivity that NetBlocks detected in these service providers.
⚠️ Confirmed: A significant disruption has been registered on multiple networks supplied by #Israel's leading providers Bezeq and Cellcom as the country's defense authorities and National Cyber Directorate declare a state of emergency 📉 pic.twitter.com/lcPyeLvPor
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) March 14, 2022
Ram Levi, the CEO of cybersecurity company Konfidas, reported a major attack on Cellcom, a major mobile service provider, and declared this was an Iranian cyberattack.
A former security official, Rafael Franko, alleged that Black Shadow, a hacking group reportedly affiliated with Iran, was behind cyberattacks on the diamond exchange that occurred over the weekend. Franko also warned Israel to heighten their cyber-preparedness in preparation for the Passover, during which Israel’s enemies frequently carry out cyberattacks.
After years of an ongoing cyberwar between Israel and Iran, Israeli media quickly blamed Iran for the cyberattack. However, it has still not been confirmed who is responsible.
This attack comes shortly after reports surfaced of a failed Mossad operation against Iran, in which the Mossad reportedly tried to attack Iran’s Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, which is an underground uranium enrichment facility. This has led to speculation that the cyberattack was a move of retaliation by Iran.