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Cyber attack shutters Galilee farm water controllers

“You have been hacked, Down with Israel,” read a message on the controllers.

Cyber illustration. Credit: Kai Stachowiak/Pixabay via Wikimedia Commons.
Cyber illustration. Credit: Kai Stachowiak/Pixabay via Wikimedia Commons.

A cyber attack shut down some 10 water controllers in agricultural areas in Israel, temporarily stopping irrigation systems on affected farms on Sunday.

“You have been hacked, Down with Israel,” read a message on the controllers, along with an image of a Star of David sinking into water.

“Currently, reports have been received indicating disruptions in irrigation control on the farms of about 10 farmers in the northern region,” the Israel National Cyber Directorate and the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement.

The message that appeared on the water controllers, April 9, 2023. Photo by Ofer Geller/Ichud Ein Harod.

“The government offices instructed the farmers to carry out basic and immediate actions to secure the systems and to carry out the irrigation manually. At this stage, the irrigation continues as normal. As the need arises, technological experts on behalf of the system manufacturer will work in coordination with the farmers,” the statement read.

Ofer Barnea, CEO of the Upper Galilee Agriculture Company, told Israel Hayom: “Two days ago we received a message that there would be a cyberattack. The farmers were instructed to disconnect the controllers for remote communication. This morning whoever apparently did not disconnect them reported that the controllers had been disabled. Seven in total. We reported to the National Cyber Directorate and the farmers reported that the controllers were disabled.”

Similarly, the Israel Postal Company said on Sunday that due to a cyber attack on the evening of April 5, the first night of Passover, some services wouldn’t be available.

“Dear customers, following the cyber attack on the mail network, which was detected on the eve of the holiday, we have taken a number of necessary proactive actions in the company’s systems in order to handle the incident and prevent risks. The event is managed by teams of experts and fully accompanied by the National Cyber Directorate.

“As a result, at this stage, some postal services are not available, including the ability to send mail of any kind abroad. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working around the clock to restore all services to full availability. Under these circumstances, we ask for your understanding and patience, wishing you a happy holiday, the Israel Post.”

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