Israel has had a massive cyberattack, but the nation seems to be recovering. According to local media, the attacker succeeded in bringing some government websites offline. Affected ministries include health, interior, justice, and welfare. The attack also targeted the Prime Minister’s official website.
However, according to the National Cyber Directorate, all the affected websites are back online. Moreover, some of the websites were accessible through smartphones.
Israeli has not identified the attacker yet but is confident that the websites were overwhelmed with traffic, leading to a denial of service. Local media Haaretz said the attack focused on websites on the gov.il domain. This is critical as the domain contains the website that houses the government’s database. The paper suspects the attack came from a state actor or a large organization.
According to sources within the defense establishment, this is the largest cyberattack ever directed at Israel.
Meanwhile, DW said a hacker group linked to Iran had taken credit for the attack, which may have been in retaliation for an alleged Israeli attack on an Iranian nuclear plant. Iranian state TV said Iran thwarted the attack on its nuclear site in Fordow and was not the first time it would accuse Israel of targeting its nuclear facilities. Neither of these theories has been confirmed.
The attack was severe enough that the NCF and other defense officials declared a state of emergency.
They also took stock of possible damage and potential compromise of other government websites and critical infrastructure, like electric and water companies.
For now, it doesn’t appear the attack did much damage, other than making it difficult to reach the websites. There was no defacing of pages nor compromised data. Telecommunication companies scrambled to restore the websites after a meeting with the communications minister, Yoaz Hendel.
The National Cyber Directorate said: “In the past few hours, a denial of service attack against a communications provider was identified. As a result, access to a number of websites, among them government websites, was blocked for a short time. As of now, all of the websites are operational.”
That doesn’t mean everything is right, as the attack came during a tense time, as Iran had just fired missiles in an apparent warning to the US and its allies. There is no predicting what Israel will do in retaliation as it has been known to counter cyberattacks with physical attacks.