Netanyahu says that Israel subject to increasing number of cyber attacks

PM Benjamin Netanyahu reports in weekly cabinet meeting that there are ‘daily attempts’ to infiltrate the country’s computer systems.

By and DPA

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted this morning that Israel is recently the target of increasing cyber attacks. Speaking at the beginning of the weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that “there is an escalation in the attempts to carry out a cyber attack on Israel’s’ computer infrastructures. There are daily attempts to break into Israeli systems.”

Looking for cyber specialists

A campaign to find the next generation of cyber specialists. – Photo by AP

So far, apart from isolated cases, Israeli officials have refrained from commenting on cyber attacks against Israeli targets. Netanyahu added that the National Cyber Headquarters “is active in blocking these efforts, by developing what I might call a digital Iron Dome, to protect Israel from cyber terror.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that government-backed Iranian hackers are responsible for cyber attacks against American targets in recent months, which damaged U.S. banks and energy companies in the Persian Gulf. The report claims that that the cyber attacks left “signatures” leading to Teheran. It seems that the team includes just under a hundred Iranian experts.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented on Friday on the cyber threat, saying that it had indeed increased, but that the pentagon was ready to face the challenge. Speaking with businessmen in New York, Panneta said that the recent move was probably the most “destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date,” but did not attribute it to Iran.

Still, Panneta said that Iran has “undertaken a concerted effort to use cyberspace to its advantage.” He added that the pentagon has invested billions of dollars to increase its ability to identify the source of the attacks, block them and react when needed. Panneta insisted that the attackers will be identified and will bear responsibility for their actions against the U.S. and its interests.

Iran on Sunday denied allegations by U.S. officials that Tehran was behind cyber attacks on oil and gas companies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

“These false and unethical charges are rather politically motivated and part of the ongoing U.S. elections campaign,” said Mehdi Akhavan, head of the country’s cyberspace division.

“Iran itself is victim of cyber attacks and we therefore offer our help to the affected companies,” the official was further quoted by ISNA news agency as saying.

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