Israel’s Cyber Chief: Iran Is Cyber-Attacking Both Allies and Enemies

Gaby Portnoy called for the Establishment of an International Joint Defense and Deterrence Front

Israel’s Cyber Chief: Iran Is Cyber-Attacking both Allies and Enemies

Photo: Annual Cyber Week, Tel Aviv University

"Iran, as a cyber-attacking nation, is attacking many countries around the world, some of them consider themselves its allies," said Gaby Portnoy, Director General of the Israel National Cyber Directorate, during the opening speech of the annual Cyber Week conference at Tel Aviv University held on Tuesday. Among the countries Portnoy mentioned that Iran is attacking worldwide: Saudi Arabia, Oman, Canada, the United States, the UAE, India, the UK, Germany, Australia, Austria, and more.

 "We have identified that Iran is attacking its allies and other countries for Information extortion and damaging digital services. The information stolen from government systems is then used for Iranian Cyber-Terrorism," Portnoy said at the conference. "Iranian cyber aggression is an international problem, not only an Israeli one, and therefore the solution needs to be international."

 According to Portnoy, "We see new players like Homeland Justice group, probably operated by the MOIS and worked before in Albania. We see the Imperial Kitten work, operated by the IRGC, both in Israel and the US, where - 4 activists and 4 straw companies were sanctioned for operating against federal facilities".

Portnoy stated that since October 7, Iran has expanded its cyber-attacks on Israel, including "crossing humanitarian red lines, such as the thwarted attack on Ziv Hospital in Safed. Iran's actions constitute a complete violation of international privacy laws and conventions, causing worldwide damage to innocent civilians," Portnoy said, calling for a joint front in defense, deterrence, and charging together a price from Iran for the world damage they cause.

Portnoy also said at the conference that the attacks during the war period have increased threefold compared to the past and detailed the various actions taken by the Directorate during the war period, including: threat intelligence, the technological projects "Cyber Dome" and "Crystal Ball", regulation, efforts to increase resilience and awareness, adapting the 119 call center and handling cyber incidents, national and international cooperation, and more.

"We need to step up the way we work together, where we have national-level Cyber Dome defense, sectoral and organizational cloud SOCs, like the CyberShield project we are developing, to detect and defend against cyber-attacks—while protecting all sides' interests and privacy."

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