Infect the port, disinfect the beach: 6 things to know for May 19 Israel puffs up its chest after a cyberattack on an Iranian dock, but also girds for a response, and gets ready to open up after fighting off a different kind of virus By JOSHUA DAVIDOVICH Today, 3:28 pm 0 2 shares Hundreds of people flock to the beach in Tel Aviv, May 16, 2020, as Israel eased pandemic restrictions. (JACK GUEZ / AFP) Hundreds of people flock to the beach in Tel Aviv, May 16, 2020, as Israel eased pandemic restrictions. (JACK GUEZ / AFP) 1. Port of crawl: The Washington Post’s uncovering of an Israeli cyberattack that seemingly crippled an Iranian port gets wide media coverage in the Hebrew press Tuesday morning. According to the report, which cites foreign officials, Israeli operatives were apparently behind a hack that brought the “bustling Shahid Rajaee port terminal to an abrupt and inexplicable halt” on May 9. “Computers that regulate the flow of vessels, trucks and goods all crashed at once, ­creating massive backups on waterways and roads leading to the facility,” reports the Post, which speculates that the attack was in retaliation for an Iranian attempt to hack into Israel’s water authority. Satellite images of the port on May 11 and May 12 taken by Planet Labs and seen by The Times of Israel indeed show scads of ships idling off the port and a buildup of containers on dry land. Channel 12 news quotes an unnamed “Western official” saying that “the cyberattack on the [Shahid Rajaee port] in Iran was an Israeli response to the cyberattack that [the Iranians] carried out against Israel two weeks before against Mekorot [national water company] components — an attack that failed.” There’s no real Israeli response, but Israeli officials have been known to ask that journalists describe them as Arab or Western officials, and journalists have been known to go along with it, though there’s no actual indication that Channel 12’s source is not actually an official from a Western country. 2. Israel can hack it: Former Military Intelligence head and current INSS think tanker Amos Yadlin tweets that the hack was seemingly the work of a “superpower,” but indicates that that superpower is indeed Israel at least when it comes to breaking into computers. “If this cyberattack was indeed Israel’s response to the Iranian attack on civilian infrastructure (water and sewage systems), Israel is sending an important message to Iran regarding the vulnerability of key elements of Iran’s economy to Israeli cyber capabilities,” he writes. Army Radio reporter Tzahi Dabish calls the attack part of IDF chief Aviv Kohavi’s version of a “war between wars,” i.e. non-conventional military actions outside the confines of normal conflict. “You see it in Beirut, in Iraq and now with the cyberattack,” he tweets. While Israel claimed that the Iranian cyberattack on its water facilities was thwarted, the Ynet news site reports that in actuality, six facilities were damaged in one way or another. “One station recorded ‘irregularities from unplanned data changes’; at another, a pump that started working nonstop was disconnected automatically, at another water facility, a takeover of the control system was recorded. However, there was no disruption in water distribution,” the site reports, without citing a source. Channel 13 and Axios reporter Barak Ravid points out that he reported on May 9 about a secret high-level cabinet meeting to discuss the Iranian cyberattack on Israel’s water facilities and a possible Israeli retaliation. “This was a very irregular cyberattack against civilian water facilities which is against every ethic and every code even in times of war,” a senior Israeli official was quoted telling him at the time. “We didn’t expect this even from the Iranians. It is just not done.” 3. But can Iran? Now that Israel has hit back with a hack of an Iranian civilian facility, there are fears that Iran will retaliate. Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Edition by email and never miss our top storiesFREE SIGN UP The Walla news site repor

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