Israel Says Government Websites Suffered Massive DDoS Attack

Image of Israeli Flag over Tel Aviv

Israeli government officials have confirmed that a massive DDoS attack on an Israeli communications provider took down several government websites in the country, including the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense.

DDoS Attacks Temporarily Force Websites Offline

According to a Twitter post, the country’s National Cyber Directorate — the organization in charge of the country’s cyber defenses — said the affected websites are now back online.

“In the past few hours, a DDoS attack against a communications provider was identified. As a result, access to several websites, among them government websites, was denied for a short time,” Israel’s National Cyber Directorate said in the tweet. “As of now, all of the websites have returned to normal activity.”

In a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, malicious actors attempt to overwhelm a website’s servers, forcing it to crash or slow down drastically.

Israeli Cyber Agency Declares State of Emergency

The incident forced the country’s defense establishment and National Cyber Directorate to declare a state of emergency to determine the extent of the damage. The two bodies conducted an investigation to determine whether the attack compromised strategic websites and critical infrastructure.

Israeli officials claim the attack affected websites with .gov.il domains. These domains are used for all Israeli government websites, and the attack knocked the interior, justice, health and welfare ministries offline. The office of the Israeli Prime Minister was also temporarily unavailable.

Some sources have claimed that this was the largest cyber attack the country has ever faced. While this remains unconfirmed, Israel’s response to the attack indicates that it carried a heightened level of concern.

In a report published last year, the National Cyber Directorate also noted a significant increase in cyberattacks against Israel as well as around the world.

Iran Top Suspect Behind Attack

At this time, it is unclear who was behind the attack, however, Iran is on top of the list of suspects. For years, the two countries have waged a cyberwar in the shadows.

At times, these kinds of cyberattacks can breach the surface and come to the attention of the general public. For example, in 2020, Israel accused Iran of attempting to hack its water system.

Iran has also been a victim in these exchanges. Last year, a cyber attack shut down 4,300 Iranian gas station systems, causing a lot of inconvenience to the country’s motorists. In this instance, the country blamed Israel and the United States for the attack.

Technology policy researcher
Prateek is a technology policy researcher with a background in law. His areas of interest include data protection, privacy, digital currencies, and digital literacy. Outside of his research interests, Prateek is an avid reader and is engaged in projects on sustainable farming practices in India.