By RYAN JONES, ISRAEL TODAY—
Massive traffic congestion in and around the northern Israel city of Haifa last month was the result of a targeted cyber-attack, it was reported on Monday.
An unnamed Israeli cyber-security expert speaking on condition of anonymity told the Associated Press that computer problems that caused major traffic jams for two days straight were more than just standard “technical difficulties.”
According to this official, a Trojan-horse attack targeted the security cameras in the tunnel, prompting officials to close the thoroughfare for 20-30 minutes. The next day, the system was hit again, resulting in an eight-hour shutdown and causing an estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.
The matter had been classified until now, with Israeli officials publicly stating that the unusual snafu had been caused by a mere “computer glitch.”
Earlier this month, IDF Chief of Staff Gen. Benny Gantz warned that the next war against Israel will include major computer attacks aimed at bringing the Jewish state to a standstill.
“A vast cybernetic war will rage that will affect not only the military but also the civilian systems,” Gantz said during the 20th Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies conference at Bar-Ilan University.
Last year, Israeli officials revealed that the Jewish state is targeted by as many as 1,000 cyber-attacks per minute. In addition to the thousands of low-level cyber attacks Israel fends off every day from individual hackers, there are also a regular number of attacks by foreign government agencies.
That was believed to be the case several weeks ago when 140 Israeli officials holding sensitive positions in the defense establishment received an email containing a Trojan-horse virus designed to send information back to its creators.
Security officials told Israel’s Channel 2 News on Sunday that the virus originated in China, and was possibly sent by elements within China’s defense establishment.
The virus was detected and removed by Israel’s security systems.