Israel’s Electric Authority "Hack" Caused by Ransomware

Barely a month after the Ukrainian power grid has been reported to have fallen prey to the first ever malware-driven blackout, another power provider has been hit by a cyber-attack. Media outlets are quick to report the “severe cyberattack” announced by Israeli Minister of National Infrastucture, Energy, and Water Yuval Steinitz.

The virus was already identified and the right software was already prepared to neutralize it,” Steinitz noted in front of thousands of security professionals at the Cybertech 2016 Conference in Tel Aviv. “We had to paralyze many of the computers of the Israeli Electricity Authority. 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,” he furthered as reported by The Times of Israel.

The said attack was detected on Monday, following the reported record-breaking electric consumption in Jerusalem due to the temperature drop that resulted to a customer requirement of 12,610 megawatts. In response to the attack, officials have opted to shut down segments of the country’s electric grid.

Steinitz regarded the incident as an apparent indication of the weakness and sensitivity of infrastructures employed in systems used by different sectors and government agencies. It was in July of 2015 when the Israel’s National Cyber Authority issued a warning that a “massive cyberattack” is looming.

As of this writing, no threat actor has been identified to be behind the said attack and no power outage in any section of Israel has been identified to be connected with this attack. However, it was reported that the incident was caused by a ransomware attack. A phishing e-mail was presumably accessed, thereby leading to a ransomware infection that spread to other systems within the network. Details have yet to be fully realized—including the type of ransomware, and the amount it demanded to restore access.


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