Israeli Government Sites Crash in Cyberattack

A defense establishment source claims that this is the largest-ever cyberattack carried out against Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaking at Tel Aviv University cyber-week in 2021.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaking at Tel Aviv University cyber-week in 2021.Credit: Moti Milrod

A number of Israeli government websites went down on Monday in an apparent cyberattack. The Israeli cyber authority confirmed the attack was a distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attack that had blocked access to government websites, and that all websites were back online.

The websites of the interior, health, justice and welfare ministries had been taken offline, as was that of the Prime Minister's Office.

Earlier on Monday, a senior defense official confirmed to Haaretz that a massive cyberattack was carried out Monday evening against Israeli government websites, and cybersecurity industry sources said that the operation was a wide-scale distributed denial of service (DDos) attack.

A defense establishment source claims that this was the largest-ever cyberattack carried out against Israel. They believe that a state actor or large organization carried out the attack, but cannot yet determine who is behind it.

The defense establishment and the National Cyber Directorate have declared a state of emergency in order to study the extent of the damage, while checking strategic Israeli websites and government infrastructure, such as Israel's electric and water companies, to see whether they were also attacked.

The defense establishment claims that the attack hit websites using the .GOV.IL domain, which is used for all government websites save for defense-related ones. Another website that uses this domain is the government database. Despite this, some of the websites can still be accessed via smartphone.

Following the attack, Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel convened a meeting with officials at the Communications Ministry. Telecommunications companies have been working to get the downed websites back online; service is being restored gradually.

The National Cyber Directorate said: "In the past few hours, a denial of service attack against a communications provider was identified. As a result, access to a number of websites, among them government websites, was blocked for a short time. As of now, all of the websites are operational."

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