Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Cyber attack on Israel Electricity Authority

According to SANS Industrial Control Systems Security Blog, Dr. Yuval Steinitz (Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources) confirmed at the CyberTech Conference that massive cyberattack taken place on January 25th, 2016 and was aimed on Israeli Electricity Authority.

According to Eyal Sela cited by Robert M. Lee, cyber attack was simply ransomware delivered via phishing emails to the regulatory body's office network and it appears in no way endangered any infrastructure [1].

The Israeli Electric Authority is a regulatory body of ca. 30 individuals and this "cyber attack" is only referencing their networks, not the electric grid or electric companies.
Steinitz told Cybertech Conference attendees in Tel Aviv, Israel, that his agency has already identified the virus and is now prepared to deploy the software that will work to neutralize the bug on computer networks [2] [3] [4].

The attack on Israel comes one month after hackers caused the power blackout in Ukraine in December 2015, when the SCADA systems were hit with a trojan named BlackEnergy that resulted in the power cuts across the Ukraine's Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast.

Israel had suffered from cyber attacks previously including coordinated attack by anti-Israeli groups which was first conducted on 7th April 2013 and repeated every year, codenamed #OpIsrael. #OpIsrael targets web sites with DDoS. A denial-of-service attack (DdoS) is characterized by an explicit attempt by attackers to prevent legitimate users of a service from using that service. #OpIsrael attempt in 2015 failed to bring down government websites, however numerous web sites of organizations and individuals were taken down. According to Michal Margalit and Ran Boker, major government websites were targeted but were not brought down, including the sites for the Knesset, Education Ministry and the government portal [5].

About Israeli Electricity Market Regulatory Authority

In 1996, the Israeli Electricity Market Regulatory Authority was was established. Its purpose is, among others, to balance between maintenance of a fair rate framework to be imposed upon electricity consumers, and support of private entrepreneurs in the field and the promotion of electricity production in a competitive and equitable manner.

About Dr. Yuval Steinitz

Dr. Yuval Steinitz was appointed Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources (May 2015). Minister Steinitz kept his leading role on behalf of the Israeli government in the international campaign against the Iranian nuclear program and is overseeing the Israeli Atomic Energy Committee from the previous government. Prior to his current position, Minister Steinitz was the Minister of Intelligence 2013 - 2015. In that capacity, Dr. Steinitz was responsible for overseeing the intelligence community, including the Mossad (Israeli CIA), Shin-Bet (Israeli FBI) and Israeli Atomic Energy Committee. Minister Steinitz was also in charge of economic aspects in the Israeli-Palestinians peace talks.


  1. Context for the Claim of a Cyber Attack on the Israeli Electric Grid https://ics.sans.org/blog/2016/01/27/context-for-the-claim-of-a-cyber-attack-on-the-israeli-electric-grid?reply-to-comment=312
  2. Israel’s Yuval Steinitz: ‘Severe Cyber Attack’ Shuts Down Electricity Authority’s Computer Systems http://www.executivegov.com/2016/01/israels-yuval-steinitz-severe-cyber-attack-shuts-down-electricity-authoritys-computer-systems/
  3. No, Israel's power grid wasn't hacked, but ransomware hit Israel's Electric Authority http://www.computerworld.com/article/3026609/security/no-israels-power-grid-wasnt-hacked-but-ransomware-hit-israels-electric-authority.html
  4. Israeli Power Grid Authority Suffers Massive Cyber Attack http://thehackernews.com/2016/01/power-grid-cyberattack.html
  5. Israeli sites targeted by annual Anonymous 'OpIsrael' cyber attacks http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4644894,00.html

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