Israel’s National Insurance Institute (Bituah Leumi) said on Wednesday that its website crashed because of a cyberattack.
Overflow from the website crashing also led to its calling center becoming overwhelmed and essentially unable to respond to inquiries.
NII said the method of attack was its website being overloaded with information, commonly referred to as a denial of service (DoS) attack.
According to NII, its database has not been penetrated and the hack is so far limited to interfering with the website’s functioning.
A spokeswoman for the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), which steps in to assist both public and private institutions if a hack is beyond their own internal cyberdefense capabilities, said so far NII was handling the hack itself.
The fact that THE INCD is not yet involved was at least an initial sign that the hack was not necessarily a threat to spread and cause wider national damage, though the extent of the impact is still a developing story.
Israel and Iran have been engaging in a tit-for-tat cyberwar, striking both of each other’s public and private sector entities since April 2020, but with an escalation in recent months.
It was unclear at press time whether the hackers were a nation-state or a criminal group – or a criminal group sponsored by a nation-state.
In the past, the hacking of a major governmental agency would be a sign that the attackers were a nation-state, but criminal groups have become more sophisticated.