Report: Iranian Cyberattacks on Israeli Water Systems Thwarted for a Year

The cyberattacks started Friday and spread rapidly around the globe using a security flaw in Microsoft's Windows XP operating system
AFP/File Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

TEL AVIV – Iran has attempted numerous cyberattacks on Israeli water systems in the past, all of which were thwarted, the Hebrew language Walla! News reported Sunday.

In April, Iran hacked into Israel’s water system in what was billed as a “close to successful” attack by a Western official. The attack sought to increase chlorine levels, endangering residential drinking water.

Earlier this month, Israel’s National Cyber Chief Yigal Unna warned a cyber winter was coming faster than expected.

However, according to Walla, Iran attempted several attacks in over the space of a year but Israel foiled them all.

At last CyberTech conference in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Iran was “attacking Israel on a daily basis.”

“We monitor it and prevent it every day,” he said.

Speaking about the assault on Israel’s water system, Unna said had it succeeded, it would have left thousands without water in the middle of a heatwave, because it would have likely triggered a fail-safe which would have shut down pumping stations over excess chlorine.

The Iranian hackers used European and American servers to cover their tracks.

An Iranian regime source denied Iran was responsible, saying: “Iran cannot politically afford to try to poison Israeli civilians. And even if Iran did so, where is the Israelis’ appropriate response?”

Israel is largely believed to be responsible for an attack at an Iranian port that caused massive chaos a week later.

According to an Israeli official speaking to the Financial Times, the Iranian attack generated “an unpredictable risk scenario” in which both countries will seek to cause damage to the other’s infrastructure.

Unna also warned of an imminent “cyber winter.”

“The cyber winter is coming and coming faster than even I suspected,” Unna said last month. “We need to stand together against the next attacks. The level of attacks will probably get more sophisticated and deadlier.”

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