A number of major Israeli websites were downed for a while after a major cyber attack targeted them, said officials, alleging that services have since been restored.
The websites of the ministry of the interior, the ministry of military affairs and others were affected on Monday.
The ministries of health, justice, welfare were also targeted, as was the prime minister’s office, according to Haaretz daily newspaper, which cited a source who described the incident as the “largest-ever cyber attack” carried out against Israel.
Users were unable to access websites with gov.il extensions for at least an hour.
Internet-access advocacy group NetBlocks tweeted that a “significant disruption has been registered on multiple networks supplied by Israel’s leading [internet] providers,” with a graph showing connectivity interruption.
Israeli Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel convened an assessment meeting with officials due to the “broad cyber attack” on the websites, a statement from his office said.
Communications companies also took steps to return services to normal.
“In the last few hours, a denial-of-service (DoS) attack has been identified on a communications provider which, as a result, has for a short time prevented access to a number of sites,” Israel’s National Cyber Directorate said in a post published on Twitter.
“As of this hour all the sites are back for activity,” it added.
Denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks typically involve outside attackers directing waves of inauthentic traffic at a website, temporarily rendering it inaccessible.
Officials did not immediately say who might be behind the cyber attack.
Earlier this year, a hacker group called Moses Staff struck Israeli closed-circuit television cameras in the occupied Palestinian territories and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, an Israeli “defense technology” company.
The group released the images that were apparently taken from CCTV cameras belonging to Rafael Advanced Defense Systems on January 28.
“This is just the beginning… In the future, we will acquaint you with the office and residence of the officials,” Moses Staff said in a message posted on its website.
Earlier in the day, the group said it had hacked into the closed-circuit television cameras on the streets of the occupied Palestinian territories.
It posted a message regarding the cyber attack on its website, titled “We see with your eyes.”
“We’ve been surveillance you for many years, at every moment and on each step. This is just one part of our surveillance over your activities through access to CCTV cameras in the occupied territories. We had said that, we will strike you while you never would have imagined,” the message read.
In November 2021, Moses Staff announced that it had targeted a number of Israeli firms and acquired a vast trove of critical facilities’ maps, which included information on the location and characteristics of vital systems across the occupied territories.
The data, it added, included airborne mapping surveys with 5-centimeter (2-inch) accuracy and three-dimensional images of Israeli military sites and important buildings.
Moses Staff further stated that the information it had was of immense significance, amid international sanctions that prevent accurate access to aerial images of critical areas inside the Israeli-occupied Palestinian lands.