A hacker claimed Saturday evening that they broke into Israel’s voter registry and stole information on six million Israelis, only three days before Tuesday’s Knesset election. The hacker, known as DarkCoder, tweeted that as part of the annual OpIsrael cyberattack against Israel’s digital infrastructure, they have successfully hacked the voter database.
The hacker posted a picture that includes random personal details of Israeli citizens, including full names, identity numbers and addresses, as proof of the breach.
But reservations exist about the hacker’s claims: 11 years ago, Israel’s population registry was stolen and leaked on the internet. The affair is resurrected as part of almost every cyberattack and the personal information of many Israelis, whose personal details leaked out, appears time after time. The information was stolen and later leaked when an employee of an outside firm that provided services to the Social Services stole the Population Registry database which included information on over nine million Israelis – and sold it. The employee was later tried and sentenced to one year in prison, in what is known as the “Agron Affair.”
False reports that information on Israelis has been hacked has appeared regularly in recent years during cyberattacks, but after a few days it becomes clear that the hackers are simply recycling old information from the "Argon Affair."
The Israel National Cyber Directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office, is responsible for securing voter registry and is managed by the Interior Ministry. The voter registry includes details on all Israeli citizens who have reached 18, and is extracted from the Population Registry – but is a separate database.
OPIsrael is an annual coordinated cyberattack where hackers attack Israeli government and private websites, leading to denials of service and other issues. OPIsrael first occurred in 2013, when hackers declared April 7 would be the day of the Israeli internet apocalypse, and that the entire country would be erased from the global online map.
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Every year, anti-Israel hackers, also known as OPIsrael, manage to bring down or disrupt websites, mostly those of small businesses that do not invest much in security. Despite attempts, most of the sites that have been affected are marginal.
The Population Authority said they will examine the matter with all the relevant authorities who, by law, have received the personal information involved, including the Central Elections Committee and over 30 political parties.
The Central Elections Committee say that cyber authorities are also investigating the matter, and as the same as every year, hackers are trying to draw attention and are spreading unreliable reports. At this stage no break-in to the systems related to the election has been found.
The National Cyber Directorate said the matter is under investigation in cooperation with the Population Authority.