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Israel’s Technion University hacked, attackers demand ransom in Bitcoin

The file photo shows a s view of the Technion Institute of Technology in the occupied territories.

A group of hackers have reportedly targeted computer servers at the Technion Institute of Technology, the Israeli regime's top technology school, saying the apartheid regime has to pay for its “lies and crimes.”

The Technion, a well-known center for cyber security education in the port city of Haifa, confirmed on Sunday that it has been the victim of a ransomware attack by a new group calling itself “Darkbit,” which apparently has ideological motives against Israel.

It also said that despite the cyber attack, classes at the Technion are taking place as usual. However, the students were asked to switch to taking notes by hand in an old-fashioned way, or at least disconnect their laptops from the university network and reduce email traffic until further notice.

So far the hackers have demanded 80 Bitcoins to unlock the data, with a threat to raise the amount by 30% if they do not receive the demanded sum within 48 hours.

In a ransom letter received from the hackers, they have written that ‘all’ the Technion’s information has been transferred to their secure servers.

They have blamed the “apartheid regime” for the move, saying Israeli authorities "have to pay for the lies and the crimes."

“They have to pay for the occupation, the war crimes against humanity, the killing of the people (and not only the bodies of the Palestinians, but also the souls of the Israelis), and the destruction of the future and the dreams we had. They have to pay for the dismissal of very talented experts,” the letter reads.

Cyber experts are still trying to understand the scale of the attack, as the extent of the information leak is still unclear.

The Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) said it is "in touch with the Technion to get a full picture of the situation, to assist with the incident and to study its consequences."

Beyond the fact that the Technion website is unavailable, it appears that access to employees’ accounts was controlled by an external party.

This is not the first time Israeli websites have been targeted.

In August 2022, a massive cyber-attack by a group of Iraqi hackers knocked offline the websites of four major ports in the Israeli-occupied territories, weeks after a group of pro-Palestinian hackers from Bangladesh shut down the websites of two commercial Israeli ports.

Earlier the same month, social media activists said various Israeli websites were out of reach due to a widespread cyber attack launched by the Iraqi hacker group ALtahrea Team.

In a similar incident, Israel’s NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd, the company building the light rail network for the Tel Aviv area, said in July that its website was temporarily disrupted by a foreign cyber attack. 

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