Even though there is no kinetic warfare between Israel and Iran, it does not mean they are not attacking each other in cyberspace. In fact, that is the theatre in which the conflict is really heating up.
A recent YNetNews article, quoting the Financial Times, reported that Israel’s national cyber chief officially acknowledged the country had thwarted a major cyber attack against Israel’s water systems which it widely attributed to arch-enemy Iran.
The attack was meant to increase the amount of chlorine added to water that was used in Israeli homes, with an Israeli official telling the paper that the foiled attack “had opened the door to ‘an unpredictable risk scenario’”. The report went on to say that the attack “could have triggered fail-safes that would have left tens of thousands of civilians and farms parched in the middle of an Israel heatwave, as the pumping station shut down when the excess chemical was detected.”
“It was more sophisticated than they [Israel] initially thought,” the official told the Financial Times. “It was close to successful, and it’s not fully clear why it didn’t succeed.” I have an idea why it didn’t! The God who never sleeps nor slumbers is constantly watching over His people and protecting them from many threats. This is why it is important for us as church-age believers to be praying for Israel’s protection!
Israeli officials were privately furious about the attack. One official said, “This was an attack that goes against all codes, even in war. Even from the Iranians we didn’t expect something like this. This is an attack that cannot be done.” Cyber attacks typically target databases or websites. But this attack was the first of its type, attempting to affect real-world events and deliberately target civilians. In fact, had the attack succeeded, it could have theoretically poisoned all of Israel’s drinking water.
Of course, in warfare, it is typical for the party attacked to respond and respond Israel did. On May 9, there was a cyber strike on Iran’s state-of-the-art Shahid Rajaee port, which handles almost half of the country’s foreign trade. The counterattack reportedly paralysed the port for several days.
Although the Iranians downplayed the attack on its port, an unnamed Israeli official said of the attack: “It was small, very small – like a knock on the door….Think of it as a gentle reminder. ‘We know where you live’”.
Further to the cyber attack on Israel’s water infrastructure, hackers calling themselves “Hackers of Saviour” also targeted unsecured Israeli websites. The websites were replaced with a message which read:- The countdown of Israel destruction has begun since a long time ago. (sic)
However, Iran is not solely focused on Israel. Following the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, it was reported in the US that attempts to infiltrate computer systems of American power plants were prevented.
Iran is aware it cannot win a traditional kinetic war with Israel or the US. Therefore, it is using vulnerable command and control systems to attack vulnerable civilian infrastructure. Even though this is against the spirit of war, Iran’s desire to defeat “The Great Satan” and “The Little Satan” knows no bounds.
Awaiting His triumphant return