Hackers Leak Private Details of Thousands in Israeli Army, Threaten Gantz

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Benny Gantz at the Knesset in July.
Benny Gantz at the Knesset in July.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

A group of hackers leaked the private details of hundreds of IDF personnel and thousands of teenagers nearing enlistment age online on Tuesday, only a day after posting personal photographs of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, one of which showed the former army chief of staff pretending to milk a statue of a cow.

According to the Ynet news site, the group, which calls itself "Moses Staff,” posted the information to the so-called Dark Web, a part of the internet that is not indexed by popular search engines and is thus inaccessible for many users.

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In an online post, the hackers - who Ynet said are thought to be Iranian nationals - claimed that they had Gantz under surveillance, writing: "We know every decision you make and will hit you where you least expect it. We have secret Defense Ministry documents, operational military maps and troop deployment information and will publish your crimes to the world."

According to the report, the data dump included soldiers’ ranks, units and contact details, as well as more private information relating to their personal lives which they had shared with their commanders.

A cyberattack shut down the computer system of Hadera’s Hillel Yaffe Medical Center two weeks ago, forcing staff to record and transmit all patient information by hand. A week earlier, Microsoft reported that hackers linked to Iran had tried to break into 250 Microsoft Office 365 accounts belonging to Israeli and American security companies using a hacking technique known as “password spraying.”

Microsoft said the targets of the attacks were defense companies that support American, European Union, and Israeli government partners producing military-grade radars, drone technology, satellite systems, and emergency response communication systems.

Microsoft said these attacks were identical to others conducted by hackers linked to Iran, alongside other signs that showed they acted under Iranian auspices. 

Israel is the seventh most targeted country in the world for cyber-attacks, and last year the number of such attacks by Iran against Israel quadrupled, said a report from Microsoft released just a few days before the announcement.

Citing research by cybersecurity firm Acronis, financial news site Calcalist reported last week that 36 percent of Israeli companies have experienced weekly cyberattacks.

Responding to the "Moses Staff” hack, the Israel National Cyber Directorate called upon organizations "to implement the latest critical updates that Microsoft has released to deal with these weaknesses, which is a simple, free update that can reduce the risk of this attack,” Ynet reported.

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