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Israel’s light rail company suffers brief DDoS cyber attack

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

Iranian news first reported a “massive attack” against the country’s metro system – which doesn’t exist

Simulation of a future light rail line in Tel Aviv. Photo: NTA Metropolitan Mass
Simulation of a future light rail line in Tel Aviv. Photo: NTA Metropolitan Mass

NTA Metropolitan Mass, the company in charge of building the light rail company in and around Tel Aviv, was hit by a cyberattack on Monday morning. The company announced that a DDoS attack caused the website to go offline, but that operations were restored in full within minutes. The attack was thwarted before it caused any damage.

The first to report on this attack was the Sabereen News Telegram channel (Sabereen is a pro-Iranian Shi’ite militant group which operates in the Gaza Strip), which boasted a massive attack against the servers and operating systems of Israel’s metro system.

The problem? Israel doesn’t have a metro system.

In fact, the country’s political factions have recently found themselves deadlocked in a race to determine the fate of the “Metro Law,” with each side trying to use it as leverage ahead of the upcoming election. And so this Iranian announcement received its share of ridicule online, mostly “Back to the Future” quips.

Iranian media, however, was quick to realize the mistake and issued fresh reports referring to the NTA’s systems as the target. Fars news agency wrote that “a group based in the Arab country targeted the company on Monday, affecting its operating systems, control monitors, and servers,” attributing the attack to Al-Tahera, a pro-Iranian threat group supposedly based in Iraq.

In April, this group claimed responsibility for an attack against the Israel Aviation Authority’s website and various other Israeli sites, citing this as an act of revenge for the assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and of Iranian-Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, near the Baghdad airport in 2020.

Last week, Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen television news channel reported that Al-Tahera was behind another cyberattack, which briefly took down the website of Israeli digital intelligence / spyware company Cellebrite. The company did not address this report.

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