Among other targets, Israel’s irrigation systems were hit by a series of cyberattacks, causing several water monitors to malfunction on Sunday.
Israel has once again become a target for hackers as the country experiences a surge in cyberattacks against key agencies’ websites, including those of airlines, transportation, postal, and irrigation systems.
On Sunday, the country’s irrigation systems were hit by a cyberattack, causing several water monitors to malfunction. These monitors are responsible for monitoring irrigation and wastewater treatment systems in areas such as the Hula Valley, the Jordan Valley, and the Galil Sewage Corporation’s control systems.
After being hacked, the controllers displayed a message that said, “You have been hacked, Down with Israel.” As a result, at least ten farmers were impacted, and scheduled watering was halted.
According to reports, authorities worked throughout Sunday morning to resolve the issue and restore the operational status of major systems, but the authorities are still unclear about the identity of the attackers.
However, as noted by Hackread.com, a group of pro-Palestinian hacktivists going by the online handle of GhostSec took responsibility for cyberattacks on critical infrastructure in Israel. The group claimed it had hacked Israeli satellites and water pumps. Yet, it is unclear if GhostSec hackers are involved in the cyberattacks reported in this article.
Interestingly, according to JPost, a week before the incident, the National Cyber Organization had warned the region’s farmers of an impending cyberattack. Some farmers had taken heed of the warning and disconnected their irrigation systems’ remote control features, switching them to manual operation to prevent potential damage. However, those who did not take the warning seriously and left their systems on remote control suffered the consequences when the cyberattack occurred.
The National Cyber Organization has warned that there may be an increase in cyberattacks targeting Israeli infrastructure, possibly planned by anti-Israel hackers, throughout the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims, leading up to the “Iranian Jerusalem Day” celebrations on April 14.
In recent times, various Israeli entities, including media agencies, government organizations, healthcare sector organizations, and university websites, have fallen victim to cyberattacks, some of which occurred during the Passover holiday. For instance, The Israel Postal Company recently mitigated a cyberattack that originated from a “hostile party” and targeted its computer servers.
The company took its systems offline to prevent data loss, and some of its services are still offline, while banking services remain unaffected. Authorities believe that these attacks may be part of an annual event called OpIsrael, organized by anti-state hackers, which takes place every April with the primary aim of disrupting Israel’s critical infrastructure.
This time, the attackers focused on the Hula Valley region and targeted its water monitors because it has a direct impact on the physical dimension and agricultural areas, according to Niv Yona, the research department manager at cyber defence firm Cyberizen.
Israel continues to face ongoing cyber threats, and it is crucial for authorities and organizations to take proactive measures to enhance cybersecurity defences and protect critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.