Israeli news outlets reported Monday that a large cyberattack took down several government websites, leading the National Cyber Directorate to declare a "state of emergency."
The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported that a "defense establishment source" told the publication that it was the largest cyberattack ever carried out against the Jewish state, and they believe it was the action of a state actor, or large organization.
Officials are now evaluating the damage created from the attack and checking other "strategic" websites, and those impacting water and electric companies to see if they were targeted, but said they did not know yet who may be responsible.
A military and defense reporter at The Jerusalem Post, however, blamed Iran in a post on social media
"Large scale cyber-attack targeting Israeli government websites including the PMO [Prime Minister's Office], ministries of interior, health, justice and welfare," Jerusalem Post Military and Defense Correspondent Anna Ahronheim posted on Twitter Monday afternoon. “All websites are down. Suspect=Iran.”
Haaretz said in its report that the attack hit websites with the Gov.il domain, which is used for all the country's official government websites.
Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel gathered officials at the Communications Ministry after the attack to try to restore service and gradually bring the sites back online, the report said.
A Jerusalem Post story from January found that there was a 92% increase in cyberattacks against Israel between 2020-21 alone, while the rest of the world grew at about half that with a 50% global increase.
According to the report, Israel was targeted more frequently than the United States, France, Japan, and Germany during that time.
The news organization used data provided by the Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity firm Check Point, which works on the issue with the Israeli government, and found that there was an average of 925 cyberattacks per week during that time period.
The attacks were mostly targeted at the education and research industries, followed by government and military entities, and then internet service providers.
Software vendors, however, saw the largest industry increase with a 146% jump in the number of attacks, according to the report.
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. is a leading provider of cybersecurity products to governments and corporations throughout the world, and was founded in 1993, according to its website.
The organization is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, and San Carlos, California, and has more than 5,400 employees.
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