Israel could be the target of a wide-scale cyberattack, the National Cyber Authority in the Prime Minister’s Office warned Thursday.
Government ministries and security agencies were alerted to look for any changes in their computer systems, and security officials were instructed to prepare for “any possible scenario,” the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
The warning went into effect immediately and includes computer systems and cellular phones, according to the report.
In the last two years Israel was targeted by a number of cyberattacks. Officials estimated hackers affiliated with Hezbollah and the Iranian government were behind the infiltration attempts.
In April, hackers from the Anonymous hacking group defaced dozens of Israeli websites in what it warned would be an “electronic holocaust.” Dubbed OpIsrael, the anti-Israel hackers targeted websites of the Israeli government and organizations, Facebook pages and gained access to personal emails. The annual attacks have thus far not caused disruption of Internet services in Israel, and failed to bring down any major governmental websites.
In response, Israel has invested resources to streamline its offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, and announced last month the establishment of a new IDF corps responsible for all such cyber activity.
Israel has become a center of cybersecurity research and development, with multinationals from the US, Europe and Asia setting up R&D labs to develop better and more effective cyberdefense strategies and technologies.
Israeli cybersecurity firms are said to export $3 billion in knowledge, services and solutions each year, developing many of the technologies the world will need in the coming years to protect banks, infrastructure and government servers.
Last year, Chinese hackers succeeded in penetrating Israeli security firms and stealing information about Israel’s Iron Dome system, the Arrow missile, drone fleets and other security systems.
Mitch Ginsberg contributed to this report.