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Israel honours military units behind Iran cyberattack

On 9 May, an Israeli cyberattack reportedly caused massive backups on waterways and roads leading to Iran's Shahid Rajaee port
Shahid Rajaee port, some 20 kms west of the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas, was reportedly hit by an Israeli cyberattack in May 2020 (AFP)

Israel’s military intelligence on Wednesday honoured military units that took part in a cyberattack against an Iranian port last month, the army announced in a statement. 

The head of the military intelligence apparatus Tamir Hayman has given “certificates of appreciation” to the units that participated in the “successful covert operation” that targeted Iran's Shahid Rajaee port on 9 May. 

Those awarded include troops in Unit 8200, Israel's cyber spy agency, whose work “resulted in a unique and impressive operational achievement,” according to the army statement

The attack caused massive backups on waterways and roads leading to the facility, the Washington Post reported at the time. 

Citing unnamed US and foreign government officials, the Post said the disruption of Iranian computers was presumably in retaliation for an earlier attempted cyberattack on rural water distribution systems in Israel.

Mohammad Rastad, the managing director of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organisation, told Iran's ILNA news agency at the time that the cyberattack did not penetrate the organisation's computers and was only able to infiltrate and damage a number of private operating systems.

A US official however said that the attack was “highly accurate” and that Iranian officials were downplaying the damage to the port, which lies near the coastal city of Bandar Abbas on the Strait of Hormuz. 

In April, a cyberattack hit Israeli water installations aiming to raise chlorine to dangerous levels. 

The attack, according to the Jerusalem Post, “could have triggered a fail-safe system which would have shut down pumps and left thousands without water during a heatwave that hit the country.”

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a cybersecurity conference last year that Iran had been conducting “daily cyberattacks” on Israeli targets.