Amid Cyber Attacks on Israel, Security Agency Wins a Battle Fighting Back

The Shin Bet says it thwarted a foray against both government and nongovernment websites.

Jonathan Lis
Oded Yaron
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An IDF course for cyber-defense in Ramat Gan. Credit: Alon Ron
Jonathan Lis
Oded Yaron

Cyber attacks on Israeli Internet infrastructure and websites continued on Sunday, the 20th day of the Gaza offensive, but the Shin Bet security service said it had thwarted a major attack.

In recent hours Israeli Internet service providers have been dealing with a massive DDoS [distributed denial-of-service] cyber attack, wrote Gabi Cohen, the deputy head of the Finance Ministry department responsible for government websites. As a result, disruptions are possible on the Internet, Cohen said in an email to undisclosed recipients obtained by Haaretz.

DDoS attacks are considered relatively simple, though very effective, in keeping users from receiving service — though they rarely do more damage than that. Still, there are many ways to carry out such attacks. In recent years, attacks on Israeli sites have increased, though there has also been a rise in traffic to those sites.

The Shin Bet, which is responsible for computer security, said Sunday it had thwarted a major attack by hackers against both government and nongovernment websites.

Last week ISPs were forced to shut down all traffic arriving from overseas for two hours after similar attacks. The Shin Bet and Israel Internet Association said the volume of such attacks had risen several-fold, both in number of attacks and scope.

Israeli hackers responded to these attacks on Sunday evening, cracking the security of Palestinian news sites such as alresalah.ps and paltoday.ps and posted on their homepages videos showing the difference between Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, in Gaza and in Israel.

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