Not Every Computer Malfunction is Caused by Hackers

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

18727386_sNot every computer or technical malfunction is a “hacker attack”. Not every item in a small newspaper somewhere in the world is an accurate account of electronic spies and their cyber-attacks in faraway countries.

That, however, is exactly what has been happening over the last few days. Every Israeli media organization tried to outdo its competitors and expose these attacks. The first item was about a so-called hacker attack on the Carmel Tunnels a few weeks a go. Technical problems led to the tunnels’ shutdown for a few hours, whicn in turn led to traffic jams, frustration and anger. Exeprts we’ve spoken to told us that there were no hackers involved in this incident.

According to the second item Chinese hackers sent e-mail messages to hundreds of Israel Aerospace Industries engineers. That may be true, but there was very little actual damage, if any.

The computer networks of almost every Israeli research institute or industry are attacked on a daily basis. Many countries – and hostile organizations – are very interested in what happens in Israel, even if the media itself doesn’t hear about it.

IHLS – Israel Homeland Security

But these place are protected, so this kind of attack can’t do any real damage. In the IAI, for example, as in every other sensitive organization, there’s a total separation between operational networks and the networks that are used by company personnel to connect with the “outside world”.

So there was much ado about almost nothing. The media can report hacker attacks on interesting or sensitive Israeli organizations every day, but Israel is relatively very well protected, and these attacks usually end in frustration for the attackers, whoever they may be: Lone wolves, foreign organization, or whoever may be interested Israeli secrets, scientific or otherwise.

Hacker attacks on Israeli networks will only multiply, as will attacks on every other country, but if you’re protected the damage can be minimal. The media blitz can have one positive effect, however: Small companies that lack proper cyber-defenses may become aware of the threat’s magnitude and take the necessary actions needed to protect themselves.