This afternoon, the websites of several ministries and government agencies, including the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Interior, the IDF, the Mossad, the Israel Security Agency, and the Israel Police have crashed, possibly due to a wide-scale hacking attack, after a long period of relative calm.
Some of the websites state that they are down temporarily for maintenance, but other sites cannot be raised at all. Tehila the government ISP has activated a voice message, which says, "There is a currently a problem with the forms, payments, tracking services, and a number of other sites. We are working to fix the problem as soon as possible."
"The Washington Post" today reported, "The US and Israel jointly developed a sophisticated computer virus nicknamed Flame that collected intelligence in preparation for cyber-sabotage aimed at slowing Iran's ability to develop a nuclear weapon, according to Western officials with knowledge of the effort. The massive piece of malware secretly mapped and monitored Iran's computer networks, sending back a steady stream of intelligence to prepare for a cyberwarfare campaign, according to officials."
"The Washington Post" adds, "Some US intelligence officials were dismayed that Israel's unilateral incursion led to the discovery of the virus, prompting countermeasures."
It is possible that the Israeli sites that are down is a response to these media report, or it is possible that it is a temporary breakdown. Israeli sites have been the target of hackers for years. In January, during the Saudi hacker affair, and the leaking of credit card details of thousands of Israelis, there were deliberate attacks on prominent Israeli sites.
A senior government official told "Globes", "Don't dare panic. This is nothing more than a breakdown on one of the servers." Asked how these sites crashed simultaneously, he replied, "I don't know what to tell you at this moment."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com