TEL AVIV — Just last week at the Davos summit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was publicly praising the hi-tech industry in Israel. Now it seems his compliments may have been a bit premature.
A new report says that Palestinian hackers from Gaza have recently launched a cyber-attack on Israel that has successfully targeted government agencies, according to the Israeli information security company Seculert.
A number of publicly-run and funded organizations have been infected with a computer virus that allowed the hackers to access the devices from a distance.
One of the attacked organisations was the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, a branch of the Defense Ministry. “The attack was particularly worrying because this administration is responsible for issuing permits to enter Israel,” explains a company official.
The damage that was caused was significant: Over the past several weeks, the hackers had complete control of the computers belonging to these public institutions. Officials believe that those responsible for the attack were a group of hackers from Gaza — the same group that attacked the Israeli police in October 2012 with a Trojan horse malware. That attack forced the Police to temporarily disconnect all their computers from the Internet.
This time, the hackers sent a bogus email to different Israeli organizations that appeared to be from the Shin Bet — the Israeli internal security service — purporting to contain information about an impending terror attack. The moment the files were opened, an invisible application was launched that allowed the hackers to control the computers.
A spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces said in response: “The issue is being checked.”