IDF soldiers
© The Times of Israel
IDF soldiers at a control board in the National Cyber Bureau
Iran has repeatedly vowed revenge against those behind the assassination of its top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh outside Tehran on November 27. Tehran has blamed Israel for carrying out the high-tech hit, which appears to have involved one or more 'remote guns' activated via satellite targeting.

But it's widely expected this 'revenge' in whatever form it takes will initially be limited, given that on the one hand the Islamic Republic knows the outgoing Trump administration may be looking for a casus belli that can justify military intervention and escalation against Iranian targets, but on the other the brazen killing of Iranian officials can't just go "unanswered".

On Monday Israeli media is widely reporting that Iran's revenge has likely begun in the form of widescale cyber attacks against Israeli firms that are in some cases central to the financial, technology and logistics sectors.

"At least 40 Israeli companies were affected by a cyberattack very likely from Iran, after Amitai Data, which sells software to logistics companies was targeted by hackers," Haaretz reports.

The Haaretz report details that sporadic waves of intrusions and mass data theft appeared to originate through Amitai Data's system, particularly via the company's Unifreight logistics software used by its many clients.

According to further details in Haaretz:
News of the hack and subsequent data leak from firms using Amital Data's Unifreight software was revealed in a filing to Israel's stock exchange by Amital's stockholder Orian.

Meanwhile, a hacking team called Pay2Key, which in the past was linked back to Iran, made a public statement regarding an attack it launched in September against yet another Israeli firm - Habana Labs, which is owned by Intel and provides AI solutions. The hackers said they had full control over the Israeli company's system, including access to sensitive data.
This also involved attacks on multiple large logistics firms responsible for the transport of vital pharmaceuticals at a critical moment Israel is poised to access and distribute COVID-19 vaccines via various global developers it has agreements with.

Amital confirmed further in a statement that "two weeks ago we identified offensive attacks against our systems and clients' computers. The incident is just one link in a chain of incidents taking place simultaneously at the national level that are being followed closely by the cyber authority. As is our protocol, our defenses are now being bolstered and a special situation room was set up to address any issue that arrives. The firm is using cyber experts to contain the incident and at this point the damage seems localized."

The intrusion is being described as a "Supply Chain Attack" which seeks to gain access into companies indirectly via suppliers and vendors which have close working relationships.

Additional logistics-related hacks have also been reported in the past days. "Earlier Sunday, an Associated Press report revealed a month ago, a major artery in Israel's national road network in the northern city of Haifa suffered a cyber-attack, knocking key operations out of commission two days in a row and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage," The Times of Israel separately underscored.

The full list of companies which have suffered large-scale data breaches is as yet unknown. Israel's military and intelligence is also no doubt closely involved in ascertaining precisely who is behind the cyberattacks, with a close watch being kept on Iran.