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Trains on Pause, Hackers Applause? Inside Israel Railways’ Suspended Service

Don’t you find it strange when a major transportation system grinds to a halt? Israel Railways has announced a temporary suspension of train traffic between Ashdod and Ashkelon stations due to damage to a communication cable.

Has the game of cat and mouse between hacker groups and Israeli infrastructure escalated? According to Cyber Avengers’ Telegram channel, the group has been behind numerous cyberattacks against Israeli railroad systems since 2020.

The recent temporary suspension of Israel Railways services between Ashdod and Ashkelon, and the fire near Sderot, add another layer to the ongoing saga.

Communication Cable Damage: Accidental or Intentional?

While Israel Railways claims that the communication cable was damaged during infrastructure work, concerns around the security of such crucial services are inevitable.

We think it’s essential to consider the various reasons that can lead to these issues, accidental or otherwise.

The Mysterious Fire Near Sderot

Adding to the complexity, a fire broke out near Sderot, which led to the suspension of train services between Ashkelon and Netivot. While the railway company didn’t specify the fire’s cause, it’s worth noting that Sderot is close to the Gaza Strip, where airborne incendiary attacks have resumed.

Gaza strip and Sderot (Image via Google Maps).

Cyber Av3ngers cyberattack

The hacking group Cyber Av3ngers claimed to be the cause of the disruptions and shared multiple screenshots on their Telegram channel1 as proof.

Despite this, Israel Railways insists that there is no indication of a cyber attack2, as it operates on a closed system. You can believe that this could be a case of conflicting stories, raising the stakes for the truth to emerge.

A History of Attacks: Cyber Avengers’ Pledge

This isn’t the first time Cyber Avengers has targeted Israeli infrastructure. They previously claimed responsibility for a cyberattack on Bazan, Israel’s largest refinery.

Quick Recap Table

SubjectDetails
Groups InvolvedCyber Avengers, Anonymous Sudan
Previous TargetsBazan Refinery, Ben Gurion Airport, Israeli Emergency Alert System
Recent IncidentIsrael Railways Suspension
Stated MotivesAgainst Israeli “Occupation”
Cyber Threat LevelHigh
Quick Recap Table

Escalating Tensions: Multiple Groups, Multiple Targets

It’s not just Cyber Avengers in the spotlight. Israeli media reported other large-scale cyberattacks by various hacker groups, including Anonymous Sudan. Targets have ranged from the Ben Gurion Airport website to the Red Alert system.

The Real Targets: Public Services and National Security

When critical infrastructure like railways and refineries are targeted, it’s not just an IT problem. It becomes a national security issue3.

With Cyber Avengers explicitly warning of “dreadful blows” if the Israeli occupation continues, there’s little room for doubt that the stakes are high.

Cyber Av3ngers on Telegram
Cyber Av3ngers on Telegram

The temporary suspension of Israel Railways between key stations brings to light questions around infrastructure stability, cybersecurity, and even international relations. As engineers and global experts work to solve the issue, it’s crucial to stay vigilant for potential threats, both online and offline.

So, what do you think? Could the sudden disruption of a vital transport link be a mere coincidence or something more?

  1. Cyber Av3ngers Telegram channel – https://t.me/cyberaveng3rs ↩︎
  2. Israelhayom.co.il – https://www.israelhayom.co.il/news/transportation/article/13359361 ↩︎
  3. Presstv.ir – https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2023/09/17/710988/Israeli-railroad-network-targeted-in-cyberattack-by-pro-Palestine-hackers ↩︎

Reza Rafati

Reza Rafati, based in the Netherlands, is the founder of Cyberwarzone.com. An industry professional providing insightful commentary on infosec, cybercrime, cyberwar, and threat intelligence, Reza dedicates his work to bolster digital defenses and promote cyber awareness.