Business in Brief

Bank Hapoalim hit by Iranian cyber attack

Bank Hapoalim was targeted by a cyber attack that attempted to send corporate information to servers in Iran, prompting the Bank of Israel to call in the information security heads at all the country's banks for an emergency meeting Thursday. On Wednesday, Hapoalim discovered that a Power Point presentation sent to several employees contained a worm. Once the file was opened, the worm attempted to send information from the bank to servers in Iran, which had been disguised by means of Canadian IP addresses. The bank stated that its information security staff had caught the worm in real time and blocked the threat. It also reportedly tried to keep the attack from reaching the news media, reportedly warning members of its computing staff not to talk to the media. (Sivan Aizescu, Guy Grimland and Orr Hirschauge )

Forbes: Soros bought 7% stake in Comverse

George Soros bought 7% of Comverse, worth an estimated $100 million, according to investment magazine Forbes. The U.S. billionaire bought 14.7 million shares of the company in the fourth quarter of 2011, Forbes reported after reviewing his firm's portfolio. Comverse develops software for the cell phone industry, and Soros was looking to increase his cellular holdings that quarter, the magazine reported. He also increased his holding in Google after the success of the company's Android phone operating system. Last year was a crucial one for Comverse: The company launched a recovery plan that included hundreds of layoffs and registered profits of $42.3 million in the third quarter versus a loss of $31.5 million in the same period a year earlier. (Vadim Sviderski and News Agencies )

No more vitamins behind pharmacy counters

Pharmacies won't be allowed to sell dietary supplements from behind the counter, under new Health Ministry regulations. The change, which is still in draft form, is intended to prevent "the false impression that these are medical products with proven quality and effectiveness." Dietary supplements need to be placed away from displays of medications, the regulations state. The market is worth NIS 900 million a year. The pharmacists' union complained that this would cause harm to small pharmacies, which lack display space. (Roni Linder-Ganz )

Arkia offering cheaper airfare to Paris

Arkia is cutting the cost of its tickets to Paris by $30 by transferring to the low-cost terminal at the city's Charles de Gaulle airport. The change will be possible thanks to a deal in the works with the government and El Al, which is responsible for the Israeli airlines' overseas security measures. Arkia stated in response that this is part of its plan to make some of its flights low-cost operations. (Zohar Blumenkrantz )

Katz threatens to shut railway over next strike

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz upped the rhetorical ante in the battle with the train union over the weekend, threatening to shut down Israel Railways if the workers launched another wildcat strike. The union shuttered national train service last week with a few hours' notice, ostensibly over company plans to outsource maintenance of some train cars, and contrary to the orders of the National Labor Court. "The negotiations have exhausted themselves, and they're not over outsourcing anymore, they're over control of the railways," he said on Channel 2's "Meet the Press" on Friday night. Asked why the company hadn't fired union leader Gila Edri, who is believed to be a force behind the illegal strikes, Katz said he believed it was a problem that she couldn't be fired. "The Histadrut leader needs to drop this union. The entire nation would back him," he said. Meanwhile, the Histadrut is scheduled to petition the National Labor Court on Sunday, asking it to drop the temporary order blocking train employees from striking. (Daniel Schmil )