Israeli police disconnected their IT systems from the Internet last week, after an apparent cyber attack designed to steal information, the Times of Israel has reported.
According to the news site, a malware infection was detected last week and on Thursday the police decided to disconnect IT systems from the Internet. As of yesterday, their systems were still offline.
The Times of Israel reports that the virus was sent into the organisation via a .RAR compressed file attached to an email. The email was sent from the email address email@example.com; Benny Gantz is the chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Based on the details of the story that have emerged so far, Roni Bachar, head of the cyber attack department at Israeli security company Avent, says that the attack was not particularly sophisticated.
"It was a compressed .EXE (executable file), and people know that you can weaponise .EXE files," he told Information Age today. "There are other things you can do, such as embed the malware in a Word file or redirect to an infected website, that would be much harder to detect."
Nevertheless, Bachar believes that the fact that the police has shut down its Internet connection suggests that a number of employees must have opened the attachment and run the file.
"In order to close off the Internet, you would need the authority of the very senior managers," he said. "That suggests it is something very [damaging] on multiple computers."
"It is a reaction of panic," he added.
Bachar says that he is not aware of previous cybers attack on the police, but that similar attacks on Israeli businesses are very common.
As for the source of the attack, Bachar said: "I think it is Iran."