The Israel National Cyber Directorate headquarters.

Israel confronts sharp rise in cyber attacks from Iran and Hezbollah amid war

According to the annual report published by Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, from October 7 to the end of 2023, the number of cyber attacks jumped by 2.5 times

Israel experienced 3,380 cyber attacks from October 7th until the end of 2023, 800 of which had "significant potential for damage" according to the National Cyber Directorate’s annual report. This represents a 2.5 increase in cyber attacks compared to the same period in previous years.
"The war brought with it an increase in cyber attacks that intensified gradually, shifting from a focus on information theft to disruptive and damaging attacks," the report stated. "At the beginning of the war, the attacks were simple and unsophisticated, mainly aimed at creating public discord. Over time, they became more focused and aimed at effectively disrupting organizations. The attacks targeted essential organizations and aimed to create a wide impact by attacking prominent companies in the supply chain for many organizations. As the war progressed, more hackers were identified to be working for Iran and Hezbollah."
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חמ"ל של מערך הסייבר הלאומי סייבר
חמ"ל של מערך הסייבר הלאומי סייבר
The Israel National Cyber Directorate headquarters.
(Credit: Oded Karni)
According to the Directorate, several trends emerged during this period, including hospitals becoming central targets, attacks aimed at undermining the war effort and gathering intelligence, and a strengthening cooperation between Iran and Hezbollah.
Throughout 2023, the Directorate received 13,040 reports from citizens and organizations verified as cyber attacks, marking a 43% increase compared to 2022. However, 68% of the reports were received during the Gaza conflict. Of all the reports, 41% were attacks carried out over social networks, 25% were phishing attempts, 13% were via computer systems, 9% took advantage of computer system vulnerabilities, 3% were malware, 2% were disruptions to operational continuity, and 2% were communication disruptions. The remaining 4% were categorized as "other."
Alongside vulnerabilities in software systems used by attackers to carry out cyber attacks, attacks are often carried out through compromised login data. Through breaches to other entities and classic phishing attacks in which the data is obtained when the victim receives a message from an impersonator leading to a malicious site where they are prompted to login. This type of attack "succeeded in fooling many employees and led to unauthorized access to organization computers," said the report.
"In 2023, there was an improvement in the defense capabilities of the Israeli economy," said Gaby Portnoy, Director General of the Directorate. "The year 2024 will be marked by the continuation of the fighting and readiness to expand it to additional arenas, alongside an expected improvement in cyber capabilities and the willingness of our enemies to carry out attacks that will cause damage to the civilian home front."