Israel recently helped the UAE fend off a serious DDoS (distributed denial of service) cyberattack, UAE cyber chief Muhammad al-Kuwaiti said on Tuesday.Speaking at the Tel Aviv Cyber Week Conference, he said, “Thank God for the Abraham Accords... Cybersecurity is an important aspect for us all. We in the UAE for example are going through a great digital transformation. A transformation across all sectors: aviation, education, healthcare, oil and gas, transportation. And, in fact, we need to do a safe and secure transformation.”Continuing he said, “I am sure you heard my dear friend, Gabi [Israeli cyber chief Gabi Portnoy], when he mentioned the importance of working together. Our cyber strategy has five main pillars,” one of which is partnerships with allied states.“It has a pillar about protecting and defending. And this is where we plug into the great Start-Up Nation [Israel] where we have many of those companies helping us as a matter of fact to build up that cyber dome or to extend that cyber dome,” to defend against cyberattacks.
Israel's cyber chief uses generative AI to thwart threats
Earlier at the same conference, Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) chief Portnoy said, “anyone who carries out a cyberattack against Israeli citizens needs to take into account the price he will pay.”Portnoy specifically called out Iran and Hezbollah in his threat.
More specifically, he addressed cyberattacks by the group MuddyWater, which he identified as associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and which attacked the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology a few months ago.“The group doesn’t just work against Israel, but rather also hacks civilian targets in many other countries, including: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, India, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and others,” said Portnoy.This statement of Iran’s attacks on Sunni states came despite the Islamic Republic’s nominal improved relations with the Saudis and other Sunni states.
The INCD chief stated that in the past year, MuddyWater had tried to attack other targets in Israel, but unsuccessfully.
The people behind the attacks
He added, “The Israeli cyber community knows Iran’s cyber operations inside-out and works to thwart it in many ways. Iran’s intelligence personnel, the IRGC and Hezbollah who are involved in cyber operations against Israel know exactly what I am talking about.”Next, he said, “I want to back the actions of the US against Iran’s violence, as well as the sanctions which they placed on two key players in Iranian intelligence: Farazin Karimi and Majteba Matzafi, who set up the Radwan Academic Group, which trains hackers for bad purposes.”Further, he flagged Ali Hidari who operates out of Beirut, and “who coordinates cyber operations between Iran and Hezbollah, which causes harm to the Lebanese civilian sector in the cyber area.”In addition, he said that for some in Iranian intelligence, using the digital sphere to harm civilians “is part of their routine.”Portnoy called on top international cyber officials to work together to stop Iranian and Hezbollah hackers “from their attacks on the world.”