An unidentified collective of hackers, similar to those behind the "OpIsrael" attacks in April, reportedly managed to shut down a major tunnel road in the country two days in a row. According to an AP report based on interviews with cybersecurity experts, the Carmel Tunnels toll road in Haifa was locked down after a Trojan horse attack targeted its security camera systems. The first outage was just 20 minutes long. But the second started at morning rush hour and lasted for eight hours, causing major delays in Israel's third-largest city. Israel is often the subject of cyberattacks, but this one is unusually high profile.
At the time, officials blamed the September 8 and 9 closures on a technical malfunction. But Israeli officials know about, and have classified, details of the attack actually behind those closures, and seems to explain the tone of a recent speech by Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, who warned of possible escalations in the future, including "a cyberattack on websites which provide daily services to the citizens of Israel. Traffic lights could stop working, the banks could be shut down," he said, according to the AP.
It's no secret that hacking groups can and do target infrastructure systems, including those in the U.S. The AP notes that the hackers didn't resemble more sophisticated efforts from government-connected cyberattack teams, such as those working in China or Iran. Israel is a popular target for cyberattacks, though usually those efforts have little to no actual impact. This one, however, cost Israel hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
Of course, Israel has its own capable hacking cohort. For example: Israel's Mossad intelligence agency may have been behind a 2012 hack into former French president Nicholas Sarkozy's communications network. That's according to a document from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
(Photo: AP — Israelis work on computers at the 'CyberGym' school in the coastal city of Hadera.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.