Further arrests are expected in a hacking case that exposed some of the most
sensitive information in Israel’s legal and law enforcement system, police
confirmed on Thursday.
Details would emerge in the coming weeks as to
whom the hackers passed on the confidential court documents they accessed, and
the effect such violations had on public security, Supt. Yaron Ben-Tzvi,
head of the Israel Police Cyber Crimes Unit, told The Jerusalem
Ben-Tzvi said that in his 12 years on the force he had never heard
of a case this severe, one that penetrated to the heart of the legal
“This was an invasion into the holy of holies of the Israeli
court system and the Israel police,” he said, clarifying that not only did the
suspects have access to classified information dealing with court cases, but
also to police investigations that were under court-imposed gag
On Monday, police announced the arrest of chief suspect Moshe
Halevy, 42, well-known as the blogger “Halemo,” former National Fraud Squad
officer Boaz Guttman and a third suspect.
Police believe the suspects
engineered the penetration of the court system’s database, and accessed
thousands of highly sensitive documents not open to the public.
confessed to the allegations against him, but blamed the courts for having lax
security, Ben-Tzvi said.
“If you have the ability to access a court case
still under a gag order, or to see arrest and search and seizure warrants ahead
of time, you can get that information to the right people, and tell them what
police or the courts are looking for,” he said.
Ben-Tzvi said the hackers
first broke into the court and police databases in 2008, and accessed thousands
upon thousands of secret files since then. Police caught on to the hacking
earlier this year, after details of a rape in the Gan Ha’ir parking lot under
Tel Aviv City Hall were leaked to the press despite a sweeping gag order on the
case. Police realized something was amiss, and Ben-Tzvi and his team went to
A few months later investigators closed in on Halevy.
knew he would be able to spy on the investigation and access the arrest warrant
issued against him.
Ben-Tzvi would not elaborate on this aspect of the
case, but said that officers took steps to pass on the arrest warrant without
exposing it to Halevy’s eyes.
When asked if the judicial system had
sufficient security on its database, Ben-Tzvi said, “The courts had a firewall
set up and a company that handled their online security, but like anything else
online, with enough effort, time and determination, someone can find a point of
weakness and break in.
“The public should know that the moment you
connect your computer to the Internet, you should take into account that someone
can break into your computer,” he said.