Report: Israel Faced Over 1 Million Cyber Attacks on First Day of Operation ‘Protective Edge’
Escalating Gaza rocket attacks against Israel have been accompanied by a major spike in cyber assaults as well, data provided by the International Cyber Convention at Tel Aviv University shows.
According to the Convention, on the first day of Israel’s ongoing Operation Protective Edge, aimed at halting the attacks, there was a 900 percent increase in cyber infiltration attempts against Israeli government sites.
“We deal with an average of 100,000 attacks a day, and in the last day we have been faced with 1,000,000 attacks,” said Major-General (res.) Yitzchak Ben Yisrael, head of the Cyber Center at Tel Aviv University, early last week. Ben Yisrael pointed out that the attacks originate from all over the Muslim world and aren’t solely the work of Gaza’s Hamas, whose hacker unit is still primitive.
Ben Yisarel indicated that the actual volume of attacks is probably even higher.
“We know about 1 million attacks on government bodies and big companies. If a private individual is attacked – we have no account of it,” he said. “People think that cyber attacks are about data security. Those are the easy attacks. The mass of attacks are against physical infrastructure. The trains, for instance, are piloted by computers. A virus inserted into the system can cause a deadly accident.”
As an example, Ben Yisrael pointed to a hacker unit directed by Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad known as the Syrian Electronic Army, which in 2012 hacked the computers of an irrigation system in northern Israel and shut it down.
“We initially received a notice that the entire water system in the Haifa area was down,” recalled Ben Yisrael, “the good news is that it was a false notice; the bad news is that a system was actually shut down.”