Cyber warfare in Israel has reached a new level.
Israel is experiencing an increase in cyber security threats as a result of the conflict with Hamas. Two hacked smart billboards that briefly displayed pro-Hamas content were among the incidents, and a college was the target of a cyberattack that caused hundreds of thousands of personal posts to be published.
For a brief period on Thursday, hackers had access to two smart billboards in or near Tel Aviv, and they "were able to replace the commercials with anti-Israel content in support of Hamas," according to Gil Messing, chief of staff of the Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies. He continued, saying that most of the video featured footage from Gaza, the Israeli flag under fire, and other comparable images.
Eilon Rozman, the CEO of CTV Media Israel, the business that owns the billboards, stated that "we had to open the network for a few minutes, and they probably immediately infiltrated it at that point."
Since Saturday, Check Point has mostly encountered DDoS attacks or website defacements as cybersecurity threats. According to Messing, the incidents involving the billboards are "very minor... compared to everything else that's going on here."
Hacker groups' activities on the dark web and in Telegram are actively monitored by Check Point. One of the Telegram messages contained information that indicated threats of attacks on important infrastructure components, such as water supply systems. The threats were specifically directed at Mekorot, the biggest water agency in Israel.
Messing stated that "more than 40 groups are currently trying or say they are trying to carry out cyberattacks," adding that such dangers are not unusual.
These individuals threaten, but may not always carry through on their threats... The goal is more to instigate fear and discomfort than to seriously harm anyone.
The Ono Academic College hack near Tel Aviv was the most significant cyberattack this week. On Monday, a hacker group purportedly from Jordan posted nearly 250,000 posts on Telegram from staff, students, and alumni. The college was compelled to shut down its systems in response.
"Experts in cyber attacks have discovered a data leak from our computer system. The problem is being addressed, we are in touch with the national cyber authority, and we have also informed the privacy authority, according to a statement from the college.