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False rocket sirens in Jerusalem, Eilat might have been cyber attack

Updated: Jun 23

Israel’s National Cyber Directorate instructs local authorities to take prompt measures to protect their PA systems. Is Iran to blame?


People taking cover in an underground parking lot when an air raid siren in heard, Tel Aviv, Israel. archive. Photo: REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
People taking cover in an underground parking lot when an air raid siren in heard, Tel Aviv, Israel. archive. Photo: REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

Residents of several neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Eilat were terrified yesterday evening (Sunday) when air raid sirens suddenly began blaring, fearing a possible rocket or missile attack. The IDF was quick to respond with a calming message, tweeting that the sirens were probably triggered due to a malfunction.


“There is no fear of a security incident,” said the IDF spokesperson tweet, noting that the issue was under investigation.


But now, it seems it might not have been a simple “malfunction”.


“The National Cyber Directorate has instructed local authorities to take prompt measures to protect their PA systems,” said the Homefront Command this morning, adding that this is “in light of a suspected cyber incident on municipal PA systems, which led to the system’s activation in a small number of areas in Jerusalem and Eilat.”


Whenever there’s a suspected missile attack on Israel, Homefront Command alert systems in the specific area are activated and sirens are heard. But in this case, the Command made note that it was not its own systems but rather civilian ones.


Israeli media has reported that authorities are suspecting that Iran-backed agents are behind this possible attack, as part as the ongoing Israel-Iran shadow cyber war.


“The attack did not harm critical infrastructure, but the extent to which damage caused to civilian systems has been disrupting Israelis’ lives, and the gap between Israel’s excellent cyber defense capabilities of what it defines as critical infrastructure and the lacking defense of other civilian infrastructure – has become clear once again,” the Israel Internet Association (ISOC) said in a tweet.


Update: Two days after the attack, an Iranian-linked hacker group known as Moses Staff - which has allegedly already attacked Israeli targets - boasted on its website that it is the one behind this current attack as well. At the time of writing, there is no confirmation of these claims.

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