Attack Disables Irrigation Systems and Disrupts Water Treatment Processes

May 22, 2023

INCIDENT

Water controllers for irrigating fields in the Jordan Valley were damaged, as were control systems for the Galil Sewage Corporation. Several water monitors – which monitor irrigation systems and wastewater treatment systems – were left dysfunctional on Sunday after a cyber attack targeted the monitoring systems. Specifically, water controllers for irrigating fields in the Jordan Valley were damaged, as were control systems for the Galil Sewage Corporation.

The management for both major systems was pushing all of Sunday morning to work through the issue and bring the systems back into full operation. Farmers in the region were warned several days prior about suspicions over a planned cyber attack. Some of them, as a result of the warning, disconnected the remote control option for their irrigation systems and switched them to manual operation, instead, to prevent any harm from the attack. Indeed, those who left their systems on remote control were the ones impacted by the attack.

The attack is thought to be part of an annual “hacktivist” campaign that takes place every April, and this year’s attempt at least managed to cause a nuisance for some farms in the Jordan Valley. The cyber attack is part of an annual campaign called “OpIsrael,” which strikes in April with DDoS attacks and breach attempts on targets in the country.

Each year of the cyber attack campaign seems to bring new targets of opportunity. This year the threat actors put a special focus on irrigation systems. The Galil Sewage Corporation was one of the targeted wastewater processors that was breached, and the company reports that the cyber attack blocked several controllers for about a day and disrupted some treatment processes.

Incident Date

April 9, 2023

Location

Israel

Estimated Cost


No cost values disclosed.

Type of Malware

No Malware identified

Threat Source

No threat source identified