A host of Israeli websites have been hacked in a massive, alleged Iranian cyber attack, the Israel National Cyber Directorate said on Thursday.
The directorate said they are taking care of the problem and internet users who come across sites that have been compromised should avoid clicking on any links.
"An initial investigation of the incident involved a surface-level attack on the websites of private entities in Israel, which were done through a single company that hosts all the sites [attacked]."
The attack comes after reports emerged that Israel was behind a cyberattack earlier this month on computers at Iran's Shahid Rajaee port that caused massive backups on waterways and roads leading to the facility.
The reports about the latest attack began emerging in the morning hours after a message that read “the countdown to Israel’s destruction has begun” appeared on homepages of many Israel-based sites.
The sentence is also accompanied by images of what appears to be the destroyed city of Tel Aviv, links to YouTube videos and other threatening phrases.
Among the websites that were targeted are various municipalities, United Hatzalah (a volunteer-based emergency medical services organization), the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) Authority, several Israeli-based NGOs, the official site of Meretz party leader, Nitzan Horowit, food chains, including Coffix and Nafis as well as the site of Israel's most popular espresso and coffee chain, Aroma.
In addition, a site of international unit aimed at fighting coronavirus at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem has also been targeted.
Most of the sites are hosted by the Upress company, which said to be working tirelessly to fix the security loophole. “We have identified a security flaw in the WordPress plug-in that led to the hacking, we are working with the state’s cyber authority, conducting a security investigation and handling all damaged sites.”
ClearSky cyber security company, however, speculate the attack might have originated in the Gaza Strip to sabotage the Jerusalem Day celebrated in Israel on May 21.
"We estimate there is no connection between the Iranian attack on Israel’s water facilities, Israeli response with the attack on the Iranian port and what is happening today," Boaz Dolev, CEO of the company, told Ynet.
First published: 11:55, 05.21.20