Suspected Iranian hack set sirens off in Jerusalem and Eilat

Cybersecurity authorities say hack breached municipal alert systems but not essential IDF infrastructure; internet expert says hack reveals vulnerability of non-critical systems, calls for increased protection
Itamar Eichner|
Israel's cybersecurity authorities said on Monday that an Iranian cyberattack on Sunday caused rocket alert sirens to go off in the capital of Jerusalem and the southernmost city of Eilat.
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  • As a result, the authorities instructed local councils to take precautionary steps to secure their alert systems since they were activated by municipal alert systems and not by the IDF's home front command.
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    Tel Aviv municipality sirens
    Tel Aviv municipality sirens
    Rocket alert siren system in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Dana Kopel)
    The military announced immediately as the sirens began to blare that they were likely a result of a technical mishap, and are not an indication of an attack.
    Yoram Cohen, who heads Israel's internet association, said the hack did not appear to harm any vital infrastructure, but had revealed once again how vulnerable civilian systems are to attack.
    "There is a gap between Israel's excellent cyber defenses on critical infrastructure compared to non-critical civilian systems," Cohen said.
    "This was not the first cyberattack to demonstrate the gap and there must be increased awareness of the fact in order to protect Israel's networks."
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    Cybersecurity firm Checkpoint
    Cybersecurity firm Checkpoint
    Cybersecurity firm Checkpoint
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    Iranian hackers were suspected of carrying out another attack, revealed last week by the Checkpoint cybersecurity company, that breached the email accounts of Israelis in senior positions past and present, including a former Israeli ambassador to Washington and a retired IDF general.
    The breach was revealed when former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni suspected an email she received last December had malicious intent, and alerted Checkpoint.
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