May 9, 2020 - World

Scoop: Israeli security cabinet held secret meeting on unusual Iranian cyberattack

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C-R) attends the weekly cabinet meeting. Photo: Sebastian Scheiner/Getty Images

The Israeli security cabinet held a top secret meeting on Thursday to discuss a highly unusual Iranian cyberattack against Israeli civilian water infrastructure that took place two weeks ago, Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Iranian cyberattack didn't cause much damage, but Israeli officials say the government sees the attack as a major escalation by the Iranians, and the crossing of a red line due to the fact that the target was civilian water facilities.

Fox News first reported on Thursday that Iran was behind the cyberattack. According to the report, the Iranians used computer servers located in the U.S. to attack the Israeli water facilities.

What they're saying: "This was a very unordinary cyber attack against civilian water facilities which is against every ethic and every code even in times of war," a senior Israeli official told me. "We didn't expect this even from the Iranians. It is just not done."

What's next: The Israeli government will now have to decide if and how to retaliate. A cyberattack against Iranian targets could be one such act of retribution. But cyberattacks between enemy countries like Israel and Iran could escalate and move into the physical world and turn into kinetic strikes.

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