Iran blamed for April cyber attack on Israel’s civilian water system


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A cyber attack on Israel’s civilian water system last month was carried out by Iran, according to multiple reports. The attack did not cause any significant damage but signaled that Iran has not been sidelined by its coronavirus outbreak.

The attack came about two weeks ago, Fox News first reported Thursday. That report said that Iran was behind the attack, with hackers using American servers to breach the Israel Water Authority. The Washington Post confirmed the report.

The attack resulted in no significant damage but did cause a few “glitches” for some municipalities, Israel’s Channel 13 reported, citing unnamed Israeli officials.

The report said the attack was a topic of a Security Cabinet meeting on Thursday, the first such meeting in several months.

The members of the Security Cabinet, who were required to sign a confidentiality form before the meeting, are reportedly considering how to respond to the attack, which is viewed as crossing a line by Israel since it targeted civilian installations.

“This is an attack that goes against all the codes of war. Even from the Iranians we didn’t expect something like this,” Channel 13 quoted an unnamed official as saying.

The attack was initially detected by employees of the Israel Water Authority, who alerted Israel’s cybersecurity agency, according to the Washington Post. Employees were instructed to change system passwords, according to the report.

Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York, denied the attack. “The Iranian government does not engage in cyberwarfare,” he told the newspaper.

Iran was hit early and hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with many high-level government officials infected early on. The health crisis raised concerns about whether aggression might be part of the country’s response.

Recommended from JTA