An Iran-backed hacking group has been targeting Israeli shipping and maritime organizations for the past few years, leading US cybersecurity firm Mandiant has confirmed.
Attackers began threatening maritime commerce in 2020 as the Israel-Iran shadow war increasingly began to play out at sea after mainly being waged on land and in the air, the Virginia-based company said on Wednesday.
The hacking group focused on collecting intelligence from Israeli entities and has also targeted Israeli government, energy and health care organizations.
The company wasn’t clear how successful the hackers had been in their attacks but warned that the intel and data obtained by the Iran-backed group could be leveraged for activities such as damaging leaks or guiding military action.
The shipping industry and the global supply chain are particularly vulnerable to disruption, especially in places where a state of low-level conflict already exists,” John Hultquist, the vice president of threat intelligence at Mandiant, said in a statement, adding that This is a reminder that global companies face global threats. Iran’s cyberconflict with Israel threatens Israel and those who operate there.”
Late in June,Israeli Defense minister Benny Gantz said Iranian Revolutionary Guard conducted research to damage ships, gas stations and industrial plants in several countries including Britain, the US, France and Israel.
Gantz hinted that Israel -- which is widely believed to have waged cyber war against Iran's nuclear facilities and other infrastructure -- may retaliate physically against enemy hackers.