The Israeli government made the state of emergency declaration on March 14, with several government websites down as a result of the attack. Affected websites include those of the interior, health, justice and welfare ministries alongside that of the prime minister's office. The impacted sites became accessible after an hour, Jerusalem added. The country's Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel said officials are "hard at work" to fix the damage done by the cyberattack on government sites.
A statement from the country's Ministry of Communications said: "Operations have been carried out by communications companies in order to return the service as soon as possible, and [it] is gradually returning. The ministry will continue to monitor [the situation] under full restoration."
Global internet monitor NetBlocks confirmed the cyber-attack on Israel in a tweet: "A significant disruption has been registered on multiple networks supplied by Israel's leading [internet] providers Bezeq and Cellcom as the country's defense authorities and National Cyber Directorate declare a state of emergency."
Days before the emergency declaration, the Ramat Gan Diamond Exchange (RGDE) warned diamond trading firms of an "unusual and serious" cyber attack. The jewelry exchange based in the city of Ramat Gan located east of Tel Aviv urged member firms in a March 11 statement to disconnect any computer systems connected to the Internet over the weekend. (Related: Are the globalists planning a cyber attack? Israel, IMF lead 10-country simulation of major attack on global financial system.)
RDGE added that the Israeli National Cyber Directorate had warned of a major attack, and the suggestion was in accordance with the authority's guidelines. The directorate seconded RGDE's statement, saying that it brought attention to "attempts at cyberattacks against companies engaged in the field of diamonds" and called on the firms "to take preventive measures to prevent harm."
Despite the lack of confirmatory reports over the identities of the bad actors, several pundits in Israel named Iran as the likely culprit. The Jewish nation and the Islamic republic have been engaged in a cyberwar for years.
Konfidas CEO Ram Levi reported a major attack on Israeli mobile service provider Cellcom. The head of the cybersecurity firm subsequently declared that Iran was responsible for the glitch. Prior to establishing Konfidas in 2013, Levi served as a secretary for the Israeli National Cyber Initiative spearheaded by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Meanwhile, former security official Rafael Franko explicitly named Iran-affiliated hacking group Black Shadow as the perpetrators behind the RGDE cyberattacks. He also warned Israelis to heighten their preparedness for any cyberattack that may come. According to Franko, Israel's enemies frequently carry out cyberattacks during the Passover festival.
Israeli media outlets also agreed with the pundits, with at least one reporter explicitly naming the Islamic republic as the perpetrator. Anna Ahronheim, military and defense correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, tweeted: "Large-scale cyberattack targeting Israeli government websites – including the [prime minister's office and the] ministries of interior, health, justice and welfare. All websites are down. Suspect: Iran."
Back in January, the Post wrote that Israel saw a 92 percent increase in cyberattacks while the rest of the world only saw a 50 percent increase between 2020 and 2021 – resulting in an average of 925 cyberattacks per week. Citing data from Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity company Check Point, it added that Israel was targeted more frequently than the U.S., France, Japan and Germany during the aforementioned period.
The cyberattack mostly targeted educational and research institutions, followed by government and military entities and internet service providers.
Read more stories about cyberattacks on Israel and other countries at Glitch.news.
Watch Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum talking about cyberattacks below.
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