Iranian Cyberattacks on the Rise

Israel’s Sorek desalination plant in Rishon Letzion, where a major cyber attack attributed to Iran, was thwarted in May 2020. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, File)

Israel has been successfully defending against a mounting number of cyberattacks from Iranian sources, Globes reported on Tuesday.

Since early December, Israeli targets in Israel and abroad have been targeted, but most were contained near the outset and no major damage was discovered, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

The attacks come after several years during which Iran has built up its cyber capabilities with the assistance of agencies in China and Russia, according to a senior Israeli defense source.

A State Comptroller’s report issued in May 2019 warned that Israel is vulnerable: “Despite the efforts in recent years, there is still as gap between the cyber defense of vital installations, government ministries and the civilian space.”

Israeli cybersecurity technology company Cyberreason Chief Revenue Officer Shai Horovitz also said that the country’s cyber defenses are uneven. While at a national level the country’s situation is actually relatively good, he told Globes, the private sector companies and factories lag behind.

Given the difficulty of preventing or thwarting attacks, the defense source said that deterrence is crucial. “When the enemy knows that its infrastructures are exposed to more powerful attacks that it can perform itself, then the hesitation exists.

“Some of the attacks do not try to destroy or make changes but plant a dormant system that can be used later. Those are the most dangerous because they are passive and difficult to discover.”

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