Israeli government websites go offline in suspected Iranian cyberattack

Cybersecurity experts say no risk of sensitive information leaking, harm to infrastructure as services restored; Tehran claims thwarted Mossad plot to sabotage nuclear facility shortly after attack
Daniel Salami, Moran Azulay, Yuval Mann, Yoav Zitun, Reuters|
Several Israeli government websites went offline Monday evening in what is suspected to be a large-scale cyberattack perpetrated by Iranian-aligned hackers.
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  • The National Cyber Directorate said that "the attack was aimed at government and non-security websites, and especially not at public computer systems as for now."
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    האקר איראני
    האקר איראני
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    According to estimates, the websites were targeted by a DDoS attack, which disrupts a website's normal traffic by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of internet traffic.
    DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks are considered quite basic and don't pose a risk of sensitive information leaking.
    The attack lasted for a little longer than an hour and all websites were back online.
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    מתקן גרעיני פורדו
    מתקן גרעיני פורדו
    The uranium enrichment facility in Fordow, Iran
    (Photo: AFP)
    Shortly earlier, Iranian state television reported that security forces had thwarted planned sabotage at the country's major Fordow nuclear site by a network recruited by Israel, and that the forces had made several arrests.
    "Mossad agents tried to arrive and sabotage IR6 centrifuges in Fordow. The Mossad recruited a neighbor of one of the workers at the facility, provided him with special equipment and instructed him," the report said, referring to Israel's national intelligence agency.
    Iran's powerful paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) later shared an ominous message with the word "surprise" in Hebrew to its account on the instant messaging app Telegram.
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    "הפתעה" בטלגרם
    "הפתעה" בטלגרם
    Message on Revolutionary Guard Corps' Telegram with the word 'surprise' in Hebrew
    Iran has accused Israel of carrying out several attacks on facilities linked to its nuclear program and of killing its nuclear scientists over the past years. Israel has neither denied nor confirmed the allegations.
    On Sunday, the IRGC claimed responsibility for a dozen ballistic missiles that struck alleged Israeli "strategic centers" in Iraq's northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil in the early morning hours, Iran's state media reported, while warning Israel of a "harsh response" if it retaliates.
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