Israel’s National Cyber Directorate announced Friday afternoon that it had identified and blocked several attacks on websites of Israeli banks. The directorate explained the attackers tried to overwhelm the sites and make them crash.
"Thanks to the banks' strong cyberdefenses, the websites continue to be live and operational, barring the occasional interruptions," noted a statement by the directorate, explaining that the attacks targeted the customer-facing pages of the banks’ website, not their internal core systems.
Earlier in the day, Ynet reported that websites of Leumi, Discount, Mizrahi-Tfahot, Mercantile and Jerusalem Banks as well as the website of the Israel Post were hit in a coordinated cyberattack. Some of the sites went offline for a shot period. N12 reported that the Israel Post was the victim of a Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack, which temporarily cut off access to the website. Later in the day, Ynet reported that three more banks were also targeted. DDos attacks do not steal data and are not considered very sophisticated.
A hacker group called "Anonymous Sudan" took responsibility for the attack.
The cyberattack against the banks coincides with Quds (Jerusalem) Day, which is observed in Iran and other Shiite communities such as Syria and Lebanon with anti-Israel demonstrations. Hundreds of anti-Israel marches took place Friday across Iran. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi led the Tehran march. A similar demonstration was organized by Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Israeli authorities had reportedly anticipated attacks by pro-Palestinian hackers on that day. Some of the major Israeli websites had prepared by blocking access to their sites from abroad.
Friday’s attack was not the first time Anonymous Sudan has targeted Israeli sites. The website of Israeli cybersecurity giant Check Point was briefly down on April 4. Also on April 4, a coordinated cyberattack briefly took down the websites of major Israeli universities, with Anonymous Sudan again taking responsibility in a post on Telegram reading that the “Israel education sector has been dropped because of what they did in Palestine.”
Several other Israeli news outlets were attacked April 5 including the Jerusalem Post, Israel’s public broadcaster KAN and i24. Anonymous Sudan took responsibility for those attacks as well.