The computers that control Israel’s power grid were shut down this week by a cyberattack in what Israel Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz called a “severe” attack.
“We had to paralyze many of the computers of the Israeli Electricity Authority,” Steinitz acknowledged Tuesday in a speech at the Cybertech Conference in Tel Aviv. “We are handling the situation and I hope that soon, this very serious event will be over … but as of now, computer systems are still not working as they should.”
Authorities did not say who was behind the attack, nor did they name the cyber weapon used in the assault, The Times of Israel reported. It came during a week when temperatures at night were near-freezing.
The attack is significant because Israel is among the world’s leaders in cyber security.
This is the second major cyberattack on an electricity grid in recent week. On December 23, malware known as Black Energy succeeded in shutting off electricity to half the homes in Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk region. Some grid experts blamed that attack on hackers in Russia.
Israel has been hit by a number of major cyberattacks over the past two years, The Times of Israel reported. In April hackers claiming to be with Anonymous warned that they would launch an “Electronic Holocaust,” and they ended up taking down Israeli websites and gaining access to emails.
In July, Israel’s National Cyber Authority warned that a major cyberattack was imminent.
Israeli authorities have suspected hackers associated with the terrorist group Hezbollah and its allies in Israel were behind the earlier cyberattacks.
There were conflicting reports on whether the attack sparked blackouts.
The attack did cause Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to issue a frightening warning.
“The greatest curse that we face is that in the Internet of Everything, everything can be penetrated,” Netanyahu said. “Everything can be sabotaged. Everything can be subverted. And when I say everything, I mean everything.”
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