Cyber-attacks have increased by 900 percent since the launch of Operation Protective Edge, including scare tactics in a seeming attempt to intimidate Israelis.



Major-Gen. (res.) Yitzchak Ben Yisrael, head of Tel Aviv University’s cyber center. (Photo: Tazpit)

According to an article published by Aryeh Savir of Tazpit News Agency, data provided by the International Cyber Convention at Tel Aviv University Wednesday morning indicates a 900-percent increase in cyber-attacks against Israeli government sites.

In an ironic twist, just as the story was about to be posted on this site, United with Israel’s senior writer/editor was hit by a cyber-attack.

Atara Beck, who has a government press pass, is among Israel-based journalists and government officials that received cyber threats against their lives in March through text messages on their cell phones.

On Wednesday late afternoon, two messages appeared, falsely listing the sender as Ha’aretz newspaper and sending the following messages:

“Rocket from Gaza hit petrochemical plant in Haifa, huge fire, possible chemical leak, advised to evacuate Haifa.”

“Just Now: 25 Israelis killed in missile hit Haifa.”

The messages seemed to be a scare tactic, as they were sent at the end of the second day of Operation Protective Edge, in which the IDF has intensified its assault on Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza in order protect Israeli civilians.


(Photo: INN)

“The Israel Air Force has destroyed more terrorist targets in Gaza over the past 36 hours than it did throughout the whole of the 2012 clash with Hamas, a senior security said Wednesday,” The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday afternoon.

“We have decided to further increase the assault on Hamas and the terrorist organizations in Gaza,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated earlier that day. “The IDF is prepared for all possibilities. Hamas will pay a heavy price for firing at Israel’s citizens. The security of Israel’s citizens is our primary consideration. Our military is strong, the home front is steadfast and our people are united. This combination is our response to the terrorist organizations that want to attack us.”

The Tazpit story quoted Major-General (res.) Yitzchak Ben Yisrael, head of the Cyber Center at Tel Aviv University, who stated at the International Cyber Convention at Tel Aviv University earlier this year, as saying that Israel deals “with an average of 100,000 attacks a day, and in the last day we have been faced with 1,000,000 attacks.”

The cyber attacks, Ben Yisrael explained, “originate from all over the Muslim world and not only from Hamas, whose hacker unit is still primitive,” the article said.

Cyber-Attacks on Data Security are the ‘Easy’ Ones

“Ben Yisrael indicated that the volume of attacks is probably higher,” Tazpit continued.  “’We know about one-million attacks on government bodies and big companies. If a private individual is attacked – We have no account of it,’ said Ben Yisrael. ‘People think that cyber-attacks are about data security. Those are the easy attacks. The mass of attacks are against physical infrastructure. The trains, for instance, are piloted by computers. A virus inserted into the system can cause a deadly accident,’ he explained.”


Cyber-attacks have increased in recent years, but Israeli high-tech is up to the challenge. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Ben Yisrael cited another attack that coincidentally involved Haifa, Tazpit said.

“We initially received a notice that the entire water system in the Haifa area was down, “recalled Ben Yisrael. “The good news is that it was a false notice; the bad news is that a system was actually shut own.”

Haifa had been bracing for a possible missile attack, Tazpit noted. Mayor Yona Yahav issued a statement to residents, advising them to remain calm and maintain their daily routines.

“Haifa’s municipality is prepared on all levels, and thanks to that the city is praised time and again for its high security standards during all drills,” Yahav asserted.

The Government Press Office spokesperson told UWI that he was not concerned about the latest attack.

Written by: United with Israel Staff