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Security Brief: CENTCOM Week of March 14, 2022

Updated: Mar 30

Week of Monday, March 14, 2022 | Issue 65

Elizabeth Leoce, Sofia Pantoula, CENTCOM Team

Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, Qom Province, Iran[1]



Date: March 14, 2022

Location: Israel

Parties involved: Israel; Iran; Mossad (National Intelligence Agency of Israel); Iran-linked hackers; National Cyber Directorate of Israel; Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant

The event: A day after Mossad tried to sabotage operations at Iran’s Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, Israel suffered a cyberattack on its government websites. A report from Israel`s National Cyber Directorate declared that the sites were taken down as a consequence of a denial-of-service attack, in which websites are bombarded with junk traffic to render them inaccessible. At the time of the report, there has been no claim of responsibility.[2] However, previous cyberattacks on Israeli websites have been attributed to hackers linked to Iran.[3] Final talks on reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have incited recent attacks between both States, as Israel tries to take action against Iran expanding its nuclear program.[4]

Analysis & Implications:

  • It is very likely that the cyberattack was Iran’s way to retaliate against Mossad’s operations in Iran. Cyberattacks between Iran and Israel will very likely increase in light of the JCPOA talks.

  • To prevent the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) from collapsing, Iran has likely advanced their cyber capabilities to deter any threats that would impede the plan’s progress.

  • Israel’s failure to foil the cyberattack likely indicates that there are security loopholes to be exploited. It is very likely that Israel will enhance its cybersecurity preparedness after the attack. Iranian hackers will likely be encouraged to target Israeli government websites again soon.

  • An increase in Israeli cyberattacks will likely occur against Iran’s nuclear sites, maintaining Israel’s status in cyberspace.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, Qom Province, Iran” by Google Maps

[2] Israeli government websites crash after ‘massive’ cyberattack, officials say, The Times of Israel, March 2022, https://www.timesofisrael.com/government-sites-crash-after-massive-cyberattack-officials-say/

[3] Israel says government sites targeted by cyberattack, Al Jazeera, March 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/3/15/israel-says-government-sites-targeted-by-cyberattack-2

[4] Israel hit by cyberattacks hours after Iran ‘foils Mossad plot to sabotage uranium enrichment facility,’ The Times, March 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bcd4fa50-a45e-11ec-b05a-8d7b276f1397?shareToken=d21a677cfec5ea04d20ce46065c56302

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