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August 10, 2015 8:53 pm

Israeli Defense Ministry Rebuffs String of Cyber Infiltration Attempts

avatar by David Daoud

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Computer monitoring cyber attacks. Photo: wiki commons.

Computer monitoring cyber attacks. Photo: wiki commons.

In recent weeks, Israel’s Ministry of Defense thwarted multiple cyber-attacks against its computers, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Monday.

The infiltrations were attempted through infected e-mails sent to Ministry of Defense employees. The subject line used in the e-mails hasn’t yet been cleared for publication, but the report said they contained malicious files which, if opened, would allow remote monitoring of a number of the Ministry’s computers.

The Defense Ministry was quick to note however, that the targeted computers were far from the most sensitive ones.

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“We’re not talking about the internal computer systems and/or the classified matters of the Ministry, but instead the open internet network which is not classified,” an official said. “The Ministry’s defense systems went into action so that the internet network was not harmed at all.”

The goal of the attacks was to infiltrate the computers by attracting recipients of the e-mails to click on a link which would prompt the spyware to download. According to testing conducted at the Ministry of Defense, the malicious file would then allow the sender to remotely control the computer, record keystrokes, search through files and transmit them, as well as transfer screenshots.

While the e-mails were sent to many users in a number of the Defense Ministry’s divisions, testing showed there were no users who clicked on the malicious links.

Cybersecurity personnel at the Ministry quickly warned employees soon after they uncovered the attempts, and blockers were successfully placed by the Defense Ministry’s firewall and anti-virus systems.

The Ministry is now working to improve procedures in dealing with similar future incidents, according to the report.

While the Defense Ministry’s network was not infected according to the tests, the matter is still being investigated by Israeli security agencies.

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