Illustrative - Guarding Israel's national water supply. (Flash90/Nati Shohat) (Flash90/Nati Shohat)
Israel water supply

Authorities reveal Iran staged a new cyber attack on water facilities, but fortunately no damage was caused.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

Iranian hackers staged another attack on Israel targeting two Israeli water infrastructure facilities, Ynet reported Thursday.

No damage was caused in the attacks on agricultural water pumps in the Upper Galilee and unnamed water infrastructure in the center of the country, the report said.

“These were small specific drainage facilities in the agricultural sector, that were immediately and independently repaired by the local authorities. It did not cause any damage to the service, and had no real effect,” the Water Authority said in a press release.

The first Iranian cyber attack in early April on an Israeli water-treatment facility was designed to get computers to add too much chlorine to the Israeli water supply and represented a new phase in Iranian aggression, a former Israeli defense official said earlier.

Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, former national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS) said last month there is no historical experience for cyber wars and their consequences, and that therefore, much caution is needed when assessing them.

According to media reports, Israel retaliated with a cyber counter-attack that paralyzed Iran’s key seaport—the Shahid Rajaee port in the city of Bandar Abbas, which is a strategic hub for Iranian sea imports, exports and trafficking of illicit weapons.

“It is not possible to know whether Israel’s reported response will deter Iran, which to a certain extent has opened a “Pandora’s box’ in a cyber attack designed to harm civilians,” said Amidror.

An expert in cyber warfare warned that an Iranian cyber warfare attack that caused significant damage to Israel’s infrastructure would be “be grounds for war.”

Dr. Yaniv Levitan, an information warfare expert at the University of Haifa, explained that while recent attacks on Israel’s water system were not successful, damage to the country’s strategic infrastructure system would be crossing a red line.

“As far as the states are concerned, there are clear lines of what can be harmed, such as industrial espionage,” Levitan told Ynet. “A state will not go to war because of industrial espionage, but damage to infrastructure can certainly be grounds for war.”

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