Iran Suspected in Major Cyber Attack on Israeli Firm

Sensitive data of senior defense officials breached in cyber attack on Israeli insurance company; experts suspect Iran link.

Is Iran behind cyber attack on Israeli firm? (Photo: Pixabay)

Israeli experts suspect that Iran is involved in a major cyber attack that compromised sensitive personal data of Israeli defense officials.

The method of hacking used to target Shirbit, one of Israel’s largest insurance firms, is very similar to the technique used by Iranian groups, one specialist said. The hackers acquired information about senior defense officials, Security Joes CEO Ido Naor told Israel Hayom daily.

The group that claimed responsibility for the attack could serve as a front for a foreign intelligence agency, another expert warned. “There is a possibility that it’s the Iranians,” said Dr. Harel Menashri, one of the founders of Shin Bet’s cyber division.

A former high-ranking defense official was even more certain about the attack’s origin and motive. The hackers behind it work on behalf of a “very familiar enemy state or possibly several countries,” he told Israel Hayom.

Meanwhile, Israel’s National Cyber Directorate joined the investigation into the breach. The unit’s cyber defenders will also aim to devise ways to prevent similar attacks.

Defense officials in danger?

The data obtained by the hackers includes sensitive details such as names, personal ID numbers, addresses and vehicle information. Moreover, the insurance company was working with many civil servants, including members of the defense establishment.

A foreign intelligence service would love to acquire this data, military analyst Yoav Limor said. The information could be used to acquire vital details about persons of interest, target them in further cyber attacks, and possibly attack them physically, he wrote.

For this reason, the breach is more “dangerous and significant” than it may appeared at first, he added.

Iran would greatly benefit from such data, especially as it seeks to avenge the killing of its top nuclear scientist, Limor said. Dr. Menashri added that Israel’s security services will now have to protect senior defense officials whose personal details were breached.

The group that claimed the attack, BlackShadow, is newly formed. Some cyber experts say that it could also be linked to the Palestinians, as it tagged pro-Palestinian twitter accounts. The experts confirmed that the attack may have been politically motivated, Maariv daily reported.