Israel’s National Cyber Defence Authority yesterday revealed that it successfully prevented a major cyber-attack on 120 private and public institutions last week.
The attack targeted academic institutions, research and development and advanced technological institutions in a range of fields, including medicine. Israel’s defence establishment was not a target. The cyber authorities of the US and UK have been notified of the incident, which some fear was undertaken on behalf of a foreign government, possibly Iran.
According to the Cyber Authority, the hackers impersonated legitimate organisations and were able to forge a reliable company’s security certificates. Rafi Franco, senior official at the Cyber Authority, called the attack “sophisticated,” with the malware arriving in infected Microsoft Word files attached to emails from an authentic academic institution. Anti-virus software failed to notice the problem.
In another cyber security development, the international hacker group Anonymous announced that it was beginning a cyber-attack operation against Israel this month. The list of potential targets that Anonymous named included government websites, such as the Finance Ministry, IDF, Prime Minister’s Office and the Health Ministry, as well as the websites of the Mossad and the Knesset. News websites, sports pages, and the search engine Google were also targeted.