By Lauren Blanchard - January 27, 2016

Originally appeared here in NoCamels

“We are currently experiencing one of the most severe cyber-attacks on the Israeli Electricity Authority,” Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure Dr. Yuval Steinitz announced yesterday at the third annual CyberTech Conference in Tel Aviv. The minister assured the 11,000 attendees that, fortunately, the attack is handled by his office and the Israeli National Cyber Bureau.

It seems that ‘fortunately’ was quite an understatement, as the attack incapacitated many of the computers of the Israeli Electricity Authority. Only because the malware had been previously identified, a patch was able to neutralize the attack before it could cause considerable damage. Steinitz stressed that “cyber-attacks on infrastructure can paralyze power stations and the whole energy supply chain – from natural gas, oil, petrol to water systems – and can additionally cause fatalities.”

His warning reflects the growing concern both in Israel and abroad that 2016 will bring a wave of new cyber attacks, not on virtual assets, such as credit card and social security numbers, but rather physical ones — telecommunication towers, public transport, hospitals — an attack on the scale of that which sabotaged an Iranian nuclear facility a few years ago.

Yet, protecting critical infrastructure (yes, we know it is not sexy) is looking increasingly daunting, because despite the plethora of cyber security companies coming out of the US and Israel (respectively, the number one, and number two exporters of cyber-security solutions according to Israel’s National Cyber Bureau), only a small number deal with critical infrastructure. Read More