Cyber Threats Rise Amid Israel-Palestine War

In the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, a surge in cyber warfare was seen. However, the Middle East situation may be more aggressive. (AFP)

The Israel-Palestine conflict is likely to play out with equal intensity in the cyber arena. Experts have warned of rising instances of intelligence hacking and grid disruptions, that would affect allied nations of both sides.

Dark web assaults may also be carried out for commercial gains while the world may see increasing malware attacks, cyber warfare consultants said.

“Israel has one of the most advanced security systems in the world. The attack on Israel perhaps means there may also have been a tech hack to suppress intelligence gathering, and alerts. It is escalating in the physical world, and it is likely escalate into a full blown cyber warfare,” said Siddharth Vishwanath, risk consulting, markets, and emerging business leader, PwC.

Some experts expect geopolitical repercussions with grid, stock exchange or telecommunications disruptions. “The cyber warfare will see more players. We will see a rise in cyber attacks for commercial gains and a cyber war also brings newer malware and ammunition to the world of cyber crime,” Vishwanath added.

In the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, a surge in cyber warfare was seen. However, the Middle East situation may be more aggressive. Since Saturday’s Hamas attack on Israel, casualties on both sides surpassed 1,000, with the numbers continuing to rise.

“With changing geopolitical alliances, there may be more state-sponsored cyber attacks. Intercompany trades are likely to suffer as nations choose sides,” said Prasanna Kumar, executive vice president, head, financial services, and professional group, Aon. He also emphasized on the cascading effects of the war on businesses as well as national infrastructure.

“Several economies will be impacted following this war, as seen after the Russia-Ukraine war when companies in the US, UK and France faced serious consequences, and were targeted to exploit the national infrastructure, gather intelligence and extort money.”

Two days ago , Israel’s news agency, The Jerusalem Post, was hacked into. The website crashed “due to series of cyberattacks”, it said on social media platform X.

Experts said the next set of targets need not be the warring countries.“One estimate is that hacking to get intelligence data will increase. Cyber attacks in countries that have allegedly helped train the Hamas fighters will increase. Companies irrespective of where they are headquartered will have to up their ante,” Dhiraj Gupta, CTO, MFilterIt, a fraud detection and prevention firm, said.

Corporates have been steadily upping their insurance policies against cyber attacks.. India Inc. is increasingly looking at dedicated cyber security insurance covers to address pervasive cyber threats including malware attacks, compromised emails, cryptojacking. While banks, non-banks and information technology services companies were the first to buy cyber insurance covers due to higher exposure to digitally-connected systems and to protect financial transactions.

– Devina Sengupta, MINT

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