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A Sign of Things To Come: Israeli Police Network Hacked

The Israeli police department has been hacked. Its servers have been disconnected from the Internet since last Thursday as it investigates the attacks.

The attack itself was not terribly sophisticated. It took the form of an infected email attachment that copied itself across the network and presumably broadcast sensitive information back to its source. But an Israeli security expert thinks this isn’t the work of some lone, basement-dwelling hacker. The Times of Israel reports:

The pattern of the attack and the type of virus used were very similar to other cases of attacks which were found to have been sponsored by governments, Bachar said, and that was probably the case here. “At this point, I think we can be fairly certain that it was sponsored by a nation-state, most likely Iran.”

Whether or not this was a state-sponsored attack, the fact that the Israeli police department’s entire network was compromised by such a simple attack—the kind that used to bedevil IT departments in the early 2000s—is a reminder that much of the West’s critical infostructure is vulnerable. Israel is a small country that is vigilant against constant threats from its neighbors. If they weren’t ready for this, you can only imagine how wide open are America’s and Europe’s sprawling systems.

It’s good that Defense Secretary Panetta has officially recognized that securing our vital non-military infostructure is critical. Now it’s time to really start doing something about it.

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