Israel’s Electricity Authority experienced a serious hack attack that officials are still working to repel, the country’s energy minister said Tuesday.
“The virus was already identified and the right software was already prepared to neutralize it,” Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told attendees of a computer security conference in Tel Aviv, according to this article published Tuesday by The Times of Israel. “We had to paralyze many of the computers of the Israeli Electricity Authority. We are handling the situation and I hope that soon, this very serious event will be over … but as of now, computer systems are still not working as they should.”
The “severe” attack was detected on Monday as temperatures in Jerusalem dipped to below freezing, creating two days of record-breaking electricity consumption, according to The Jerusalem Post. Steinitz said it was one of the biggest computer-based attacks Israel’s power authority has experienced and that it was responded to by members of his ministry and the country’s National Cyber Bureau. The response included shutting down portions of Israel’s electricity grid. The energy minister didn’t identify any suspects behind the attack or provide details about how it was carried out.
News organizations reporting Steinitz’ comments gave no indication the attacks resulted in any power disruptions. A representative for Israel’s Electricity Authority said some of its computer systems had been shut down for two days in response to the attack. According to The Times of Israel, Israel’s Electricity Authority is a department in the country’s Ministry of Energy and is separate from the Israel Electric Corporation, the country’s state-owned utility company. Contrary to a previous version of this post, there’s no indication Israel’s power grid was attacked.
The attack comes five weeks after Ukraine’s power grid was successfully disrupted in what’s believed to be the world’s first known hacker-caused power outage. Researchers still aren’t sure if the malware known as BlackEnergy was the direct cause of the blackout, but they have confirmed the malicious package infected at least three of the regional power authorities that were involved in the outage. Researchers have since said the attack was extremely well-coordinated.
SOURCE: Dan Goodin | Ars Technica