03:44 GMT14 June 2021
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    Tel Aviv claims Iran attacks Israel “on a daily basis,” but US cybersecurity experts say the Iranian threat could be exaggerated.

    Senior Israeli officials claimed in an interview for Bloomberg that Iran attempted to hack the country's missile warning system in 2017.

    According to Brigadier General Noam Shaar, the outgoing head of the cyber defense division in the Israeli army's Cyber Defense Directorate, the Israeli military detected an infiltration and monitored it until it was apparent that the attack was aimed at the automated missile alert system.

    "We dealt with them and built another barrier and another monitoring system to make sure we could stop them if they tried again," he told Bloomberg.

    According to the report, US-based cyber-security company FireEye Inc., which tracked the attackers for several months, pointed the finger at Tehran in January and also said Iran could be behind other attacks across the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and North America.

    Iran's Information and Communications Technology Ministry and Telecommunications Ministry have not yet commented on the accusations.

    However, Tehran itself has accused Tel Aviv of cyber assaults, Bloomberg writes. The most recent allegation came in November, when Iran accused Israel of an attack on its telecommunications infrastructure.

    Several years ago, Iran was attacked by the notorious Stuxnet virus, which targeted its nuclear program. The virus is widely, though not officially, acknowledged to be an American and Israeli creation.

    While Israeli media call Iran "a world leader in cyber warfare capabilities," US experts are significantly more reserved in their estimations.

    Rhea Siers, a former senior official at the US National Security Agency, said Russia is more proficient than Iran at offensive cyber operations, and that China, too, is a skilled player.

    "The Iranians have been eager ‘to make themselves known' in the cyber domain and have certainly done so," Siers told Bloomberg. But "while it is certainly true that Israel is a key Iranian cyber target, that is different than assessing Iran's strength across the entire cyber domain."

    Siers' comments followed statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel fends off Iranian cyberattacks on a daily basis.

    Shaar's accusations come amid rising tensions between the two nations, which have already led to airstrikes and shelling by Israeli of alleged pro-Iranian forces stationed in Syria.


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    cyber warfare, cyberattack, FireEye Inc, Iran, Israel
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