National cyber unit warns of incoming Iranian, anti-Israel cyberattack

#OpJerusalem hack expected on Iran's Jerusalem Day.

People pose in front of a display showing the word 'cyber' in binary code, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica (photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
People pose in front of a display showing the word 'cyber' in binary code, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica
(photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
The Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) issued a warning on Wednesday that Iran and other anti-Israel activists were expected to stage a series of cyber attacks on Israel during the May 14-22 period commemorating Iran’s Jerusalem Day.
Known as #OpJerusalem, the annual attacks in recent years have used Iran’s Jerusalem Day, May 22 – dedicated to “liberating” Jerusalem from the Jewish state – the end of Ramadan and Israel’s Jerusalem Day as a pivot point to organize around.
The INCD said that the #OpJerusalem attacks are usually not particularly sophisticated and suffice with vandalizing Israeli internet sites, spreading anti-Israel cyber influence campaigns and overloading various online services with denial of service and similar strategies.
A statement also warned of ransom-ware style attacks seeking to blackmail Israelis into paying ransom money to fix interrupted electronic services.
During this period, the INCD recommended to the public to be extra vigilant about not clicking on messages or links or any other electronic items which appeared suspicious or whose identity was unknown.
Moreover, the statement said that the public should be careful not to download new electronic applications other than from approved sites and to utilize long and multiple rounds of passwords that would be hard to crack for access to email, social media and other electronic platforms.
Further, the INCD warned that the hacking campaign might use seemingly corona-related links and items as a disguise with which to fool Israelis into clicking and being sucked into being electronically infiltrated by a virus.
The statement also suggested using anti-virus programs and reporting any problems to their 119 call-in center.
In April, INCD chief Yigal Unna took a victory lap over “Op-Israel,” the name given to a campaign of cyber-attacks carried out by hackers against Israel annually around the Passover holiday.
In the past, the hackers tended to be identified with the international anarchic group ‘Anonymous’, and with pro-Palestinian hacker groups, attacking Israeli Internet sites with the goal of disconnecting Israel from the cyber world.
While they have never fully succeeded, their past efforts seem to have caused greater fears compared to Unna’s assurances that his unit had the situation well in hand.
Unna said that his agency has been working over-time to secure the huge new surface area of cyber space that Israelis have established to cope with the coronavirus crisis.
In the midst of this, his agency and other government agencies like the Shin Bet also continue to fend off other constant cyber attacks, such as a recent Iranian cyber attack on Israel’s water infrastructure using US servers.
Although the attack was not successful, Israeli officials regularly repeat the mantra that defending the country from cyber events in a 365-day-a-year mission.