Hundreds of Israeli websites are hit by a cyberattack on May 21, 2020. (Screenshot)

Israeli Cyber Chief Divulges Details of Failed Iran-attributed Attack on Water System

Israel’s national cyber chief on Thursday officially acknowledged that the country last month thwarted an Iranian-attributed cyberattack targeting civilian water infrastructure. While Yigal Unna did not mention Tehran directly, he described the incident as a “synchronized and organized attack” that had ushered in a “cyber winter” and a new era of covert warfare. “Rapid is not something that describes enough how fast and how crazy and hectic things are moving forward in cyberspace and I think we will remember last month and May 2020 as a changing point in the history of modern cyber warfare,” he said in a video address to the CybertechLive Asia digital conference. “If the bad guys had succeeded in their plot, [Israel] would now be facing, in the middle of the [coronavirus] crisis, very big damage to the civilian population and a lack of water and even worse than that,” Unna added. In this respect, he divulged that had the attack not been detected in real time, then excess chlorine and other chemicals could have been mixed into Israel’s water source, resulting in a “harmful and disastrous” outcome. Unna did not, however, comment on Israel’s alleged retaliation against the Shahid Rajaee Port in the Iranian city of Bandar Abbas. That cyberattack simultaneously crashed the Iranian computer systems that regulate the flow of vessels, trucks and goods at the terminal, thereby creating massive backups on waterways and roads leading to the facility.

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