Airports Authority website targeted by pro-Iranian hackers in suspected cyberattack

Authority says site back online with no damages to operational systems after DDoS attack; group based in Iraq says offensive meant to coincide with anniversary of Soleimani killing

Illustrative image of hacking, hackers, ransomware and a cybersecurity attack. (solarseven; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative image of hacking, hackers, ransomware and a cybersecurity attack. (solarseven; iStock by Getty Images)

A group of pro-Iranian hackers said it was behind a cyberattack that temporarily took down the Israel Airports Authority’s website on Wednesday.

The targeting came in the form of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack during which the Airports Authority website servers were overwhelmed by near-simultaneous requests to connect.

The Airports Authority was one of several Israeli websites targeted in an attack that the ALtahrea Team of pro-Iran hackers in Iraq said began at 1:02 a.m. on Wednesday, coinciding with the two-year anniversary of Qassem Soleimani’s assassination by the US in Baghdad. Soleimani was head of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a US-designated terrorist organization.

The Airports Authority confirmed the DDoS attack but said in a statement that “there was no damage or intrusion into the [its] operational systems.”

The DDoS attacks targeted dozens of other Israeli sites, including the Channel 9 news site, Walla reported.

Numerous suspected Iranian cyberattacks on Israel were reported in recent years, including one that targeted its water infrastructure in 2020.

Israel and Iran have been engaged in a years-long shadow war, with Israel allegedly directing most of its efforts — including multiple suspected cyberattacks — at sabotaging the Islamic Republic’s rogue nuclear weapons program.

Last February, Iran’s IRGC published a video showing footage from security cameras at two of Israel’s largest seaports as well as details of hundreds of workers at the sites.

Iranian hackers linked to the Guards claimed they had seized the information that the IRGC posted on its Telegram app channel.

Clips showed images from cameras recording access gates and even workers sitting at their desks in offices. In addition, the video included personal details about workers and their identification papers.

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