search

Israeli government websites crash after ‘massive’ cyberattack, officials say

Users unable to reach sites with gov.il extension for an hour, as National Cyber Directorate reportedly declares state of emergency over incident

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Screenshot of Israeli government website cyber.gov.il unavailable during an apparent cyberattack on March 14, 2022, overlaid with an illustrative image of computer code. (Screenshot; solarseven; iStock by Getty Images)
Screenshot of Israeli government website cyber.gov.il unavailable during an apparent cyberattack on March 14, 2022, overlaid with an illustrative image of computer code. (Screenshot; solarseven; iStock by Getty Images)

Israeli government websites were downed for over an hour due to a major cyberattack on Monday evening, officials said.

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel held an assessment with officials due to the “broad cyberattack” on government websites, a statement from his office said.

Users attempting to enter sites with gov.il extensions were unable to for at least an hour, before the sites slowly began to come back online.

“Operations have been carried out by communications companies in order to return the service as soon as possible, and the service is gradually returning,” the Communications Ministry said.

“The ministry will continue to monitor [the situation] until full restoration,” it added.

Internet-access advocacy group NetBlocks tweeted that a “significant disruption has been registered on multiple networks supplied by Israel’s leading [internet] providers,” with a graph showing connectivity interruption.

An official cited by Hebrew-language media reports said the National Cyber Directorate declared a state of emergency in order to study the extent of the damage caused by the “massive” cyberattack.

According to assessments, the Israeli sites were taken down via a denial-of-service attack, which bombards websites with junk traffic to render them unreachable, though this remained unconfirmed.

Israeli officials did not immediately say who was behind the attack, but some media reports were quick to point the finger at Iran.

Israel and Iran have for years been involved in a largely quiet cyberwar, which occasionally bubbles to the surface.

Israeli officials have previously accused Iran of attempting to hack Israel’s water system in 2020.

read more:
comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed