Israel’s cyberattack on an Iranian port was in retaliation for an Iranian attack that, according to a Channel 12 report, “crossed a red line, and Israel had to respond.”
A week after the May 9 cyberattack that brought boat traffic at Iran’s busy Shahid Rajaee port to a standstill, The Washington Post reported that Israel was behind the attack. Hours after The Washington Post’s report, Channel 12 cited a Western source confirming Israel’s involvement, but more importantly, explaining that this was a retaliation for an unprecedented attack by Iran on Israel’s water infrastructure.
“Israel carried out the attack. Iran had crossed a red line, and Israel had to respond,” said the source, adding: “The Israelis are hoping that the Iranians stop here. They [the Iranians] attacked the water infrastructure; they didn’t do much damage, but they crossed a red line and [the Israelis] were obliged to respond.”
On May 8, The Washington Post, citing foreign intelligence sources, reported that Iran had been linked to the attempted cyberattack on at least two rural water distribution networks in Israel. Officials familiar with the incident said hackers sought to cripple computers that control water flow and wastewater treatment, as well as a system that regulates the addition of chlorine and other chemicals. The intrusion was detected and thwarted before significant damage was done.
Investigators found that the hackers routed their attempted attack through computer servers in the United States and Europe – a common tactic used by adversaries of the West. Israeli Water Authority officials detected the attempt and immediately took measures, including changing system passwords.
“This is an attack which defies all [ethical] codes, even in war. Even from the Iranians, we did not expect such a thing. This is an attack which is forbidden to conduct,” said a senior Israeli official in the wake of the attack.