Hackers Break Into Leading Israeli Insurance Firm, Leak Personal Details

Insurance company Shirbit says the incident is an ‘attack on Israel’s economy,’ the latest in a series of cyber-attacks targeting Israeli firms

Amitai Ziv
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Illustration picture showing a man typing on a computer keyboard in front of the displayed cyber code.
Illustration picture showing a man typing on a computer keyboard in front of the displayed cyber code.Credit: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration
Amitai Ziv

The Israeli insurance firm Shirbit has been hacked and private information on its workers and clients has been leaked online, Israel’s securities and cyber authorities said Tuesday.

Shirbit is a mid-sized insurance firm focused predominantly on car insurance. As of late Monday, Israel’s cyber authority has worked with the company to examine breaches of its internal systems and servers by a group of hackers called Black Shadow.

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The hackers managed to break into the company’s database, which includes the personal details of its workers, including their payslips, as well as the personal details of Shirbit’s clients, including ID numbers, their past claims and additional information. 

The hacker group published segments of the stolen information on its Twitter account and Telegram group, possibly as an attempt to pressure the firm to pay a ransom, though this has not been confirmed. In many cases, hackers will leak stolen information online to pressure victims to payout.

The hack is being dealt with internally by the company, but is also being aided by Israel’s securities regulator as well as the cyber authority. Zvi Leibushor, the CEO of Shirbit, said that his firm “prioritizes the safety of their clients and is ranked among the leading insurance firms in Israel in its field.” He said the firm has invested millions in security and defending itself against cyber-attacks. “We meet every requirement demanded by the very strict regulations in this arena.”

“Shirbit is currently investing all of its resources and doing everything it can to find an efficient, safe and quick solution to cyber-attacks, whose real goal is to harm Israel’s economy,” Leibushor said.

The cyber-attack on Shirbit is the latest in a string of attacks targeting Israeli firms. These include a cyber-attack on the firm Sapiens in June and another on chip manufacture Tower Semiconductor in September that caused it to temporarily halt production. It is possible that there have been other cases that remain unknown to the public. Ransomware attacks are often resolved quietly, with the victim paying out, and they have become a daily occurrence across the world. 

“There is no doubt that attacks such as these point to a systematic problem in the way Israeli firms or those serving the Israel market treat data security,” said Alon Gal, deputy head of technology at Hudson Rock, which describes itself as a “cybercrime intelligence” company.

“We have noticed a substantial uptick in the use of ‘compromised credentials’ [emails, usernames and passwords] to conduct such attacks,” he said.

According to data collected by Israel’s cyber authority, roughly a quarter of the country's companies and organizations have already been hit by some form of a cyber-attack. The issue has been significant enough to threaten Israel’s credit rating.