Two more cyber attacks hit Israel’s water facilities in June

Pierluigi Paganini July 20, 2020

In April a cyber attack hit an Israeli water facility, last week, officials revealed two more cyber attacks against other water management facilities.

In April an attack hit an Israeli water facility attempting to modify water chlorine levels, last week officials from the Water Authority revealed two more cyber attacks on other facilities in the country.

Two cyber-attacks took place in June and according to the officials, they did not cause any damage to the targeted infrastructure.

One of the attacks hit agricultural water pumps in upper Galilee, while the other one hit water pumps in the central province of Mateh Yehuda.

“The Water Authority confirmed the cases and stated that this was an incident that did not cause any damage.” reported the website

“These are two spot and small sewage facilities in the agricultural sector that were repaired immediately and independently by the local person in charge of the kibbutz and the facility, without damage to service or actual impact,” the Water Authority said.

According to local media, the targets of the attacks were small drainage installations in the agriculture sector.

In April, the Israeli authorities are alerting organizations in the water industry following a series of cyberattacks that hit water facilities in the country.

Israel’s National Cyber Directorate announced to have received reports of cyber attacks aimed at supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems at wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations and sewage facilities.

Organizations are recommended to implement supplementary security measures to protect SCADA systems used in the water and energy sectors. The government urges to immediately change the passwords of control systems exposed online, ensure that their software is up to date, and reduce their exposure online.

The good news is that according to the report from Israel’s Water Authority, the attacks did not impact operations at the facilities.

Israeli officials did not attribute the April attack to a specific threat actor, but the Washington Post linked them to Iran-linked APT groups.

According to cyber security analysts, we are in the middle of a cyber cyber-war between Israel and Iran.

Israel is suspected to be behind the recent cyberattack which disrupted some operations at Iran’s Shahid Rajaei Port, located near the Strait of Hormuz.

In May, Israel’s national cyber chief Yigal Unna officially confirmed that the country in April had thwarted a major cyber attack against its water systems. The media, citing officials that spoke under condition of anonymity, attributed the “synchronized and organized attack” to the Government of Teheran.

Yigal Unna did not explicitly attribute the attack to Iran, he only warned of unpredictable developments of an ongoing stealth Information warfare.

Unna pointed out that the attempt to hack into Israel’s water systems marked the first time in modern history that “we can see something like this aiming to cause damage to real life and not to IT or data.”

“It is a part of some attack over Israel and over the national security of Israel and not for financial benefit,” Unna added. “The attack happened but the damage was prevented and that is our goal and our mission. And now we are in the middle of preparing for the next phase to come because it will come eventually.”

Unna said the cyber attack marked a historic turning point in cyber warfare.

“Cyber winter is coming and coming even faster than I suspected,” he said. “We are just seeing the beginning.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, water facilities)

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