Photo Credit: Sliman Khader / Flash 90
A hacker wearing a mask sits at a computer. (illustrative)

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told global cyber security leaders earlier this week that Israel is hit by cyber attacks dozens of times a month, it’s not clear how many participants at the Tel Aviv University Cyber Week really believed him. But Israel had an opportunity to demonstrate its prowess at repelling exactly such an attack just 48 hours later when the country’s health system was targeted by a ransomware hack attack — and it wasn’t the same one that was barging its way into major systems in Ukraine, Russia, Spain, UK, Netherlands and elsewhere around the world.

Overnight Wednesday into Thursday information technology specialists at Israeli hospitals discovered there were attempts to hack into the systems of several medical centers in the country.

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“Various computers at a number of hospitals were affected and were dealt with immediately. No damage was caused to any of the systems,” according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“The event was stopped by the organizations’ information security personnel together with the National Cyber Defense Authority (NCDA) and continues to be closely monitored,” the PMO said in a statement.

Subsequent investigation by NCDA officials showed that of the eight hospitals suspected to have been hacked, only two were actually attacked; the other six were false alarms, according to the PMO.

No damage was caused and continuity of function was not impaired.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.