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Israel says Iran to blame for recent cyber attack

Following a cyber attack that targeted one of its top research institutes, Israel’s cyber security watchdog is pointing its fingers at Iran.

user icon Daniel Croft
Wed, 08 Mar 2023
Israel says Iran to blame for recent cyber attack
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The Israel National Cyber Directorate has announced that the research and education institute Technion suffered a cyber attack by a group “affiliated with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security” called MuddyWater.

When it discovered the attack, Technion shut down its network and instructed students to disconnect their computers from the internet, reducing email use. It also postponed several exams until the beginning of the next semester.

According to Israeli publication Ynet, a hacking group called DarkBit requested a ransom request of 80 bitcoins via email, a number that equates to over $2.69 million.

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However, another Israeli newspaper called the Israel Hayom revealed that Technion said the attack was not a ransomware attack and that “the choice of us as a target was not accidental, and its purpose was to harm a national icon”. Technion said that investigations revealed that the attack was tied to Iran.

According to the directorate, an investigation into the 11 February attack used malware designed to encrypt an operating system. It has since shared its findings with other organisations in an effort to curb MuddyWater’s efforts.

MuddyWater has been reportedly responsible for a number of attacks across Asia, Africa and North America, according to cyber authorities in the US and the UK.

Israel and Iran have been caught in an ongoing cyber conflict for some time, although it remains largely on the down low.

The directorate said in 2022 that there were 53 cyber incidents targeting Israeli academic institutions, while Israel previously blamed Iran for attacks on its water infrastructure in 2020.

The directorate has said that as the Muslim month of Ramadan approaches at the end of March, cyber attacks on Israeli infrastructure are set to spike.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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