CYBERSECURITY: Israeli defense industries targeted by hacker group

The hacker group Pay2Key claimed Sunday night that it had successfully hacked a range of Israeli defense industry companies, including the largest Israeli airpower defense corporation, Israel Aerospace Industries. There were signs on social media and elsewhere that the hack was part of an ongoing and concerted Iranian campaign to hack Israeli companies. The IAI said that the subject is currently being investigated.


Check Point has referred to Pay2Key as an elite hacker group that steals data and threatens to leak it if its target does not cooperate. Pay2Key has already posted information relating to IAI, including to its cyber chief.

Earlier in December, the giant insurance company Shirbit was hacked by the hacker group Black Shadow. Over several dramatic days, Black Shadow steadily leaked customer data to try to get Shirbit to pay it ransom money.

The insurance agency never paid, though its future as a business is also deeply uncertain, including that Israeli defense officials who had used it have loudly discussed switching to a different insurer.

Check Point also published a report earlier in December that 141 Israeli companies had been cyberattacked in November and 137 in October, a major spike in attacks.

Some view this as Iran’s response to Israel’s alleged involvement in recently assassinating Iran’s nuclear program chief Mohsen Fakhrizadeh as well as other assassinations and sabotage. It is unclear how and whether Israel will respond to these latest cyber strikes or if Jerusalem is hoping that showing restraint will end the current cycle of attacks.