Iranian Cyber Group Claims Cyberattack on Israel Prior to Missile Attack

Todd Faulk
Todd Faulk Senior Editor
Updated on: April 17, 2024
Todd Faulk Todd Faulk
Updated on: April 17, 2024 Senior Editor

Just hours before Iran launched hundreds of missiles and drones at Israel on April 13, the Tehran-backed cyber group Handala claimed in a Telegram post that it had infiltrated Israel’s air defense systems.

“You have only a few hours to repair the radar systems,” the cyberattackers stated in their post.

Handala also claimed to have sent a threatening text message to 500,000 Israeli citizens in the hours before the missile and drone attack.

“Evacuate the cities; perhaps you will see less damage!” the text message warned. “Do not hesitate and do not sleep; the chance to escape is less than ten seconds, and perhaps your city will be chosen.”

Israel’s national cybersecurity agency denied that Iran had infiltrated any air defense systems.

“No abnormal online activity was detected during the recent missile threat, underscoring our resilience against cyber threats,” the Israel National Cyber Directorate reported.

On the night of April 13, Iran, in its first direct attack on Israel, launched more than 300 armed drones and ballistic missiles at civilian and military targets in the Jewish state. Nearly all the weapons were intercepted and destroyed by Israel and a coalition of countries in the region; only one caused minor damage at a military base in central Israel.

Iran’s failure to inflict much damage from the air suggests that it had failed to infiltrate Israel’s air defense systems in any significant way, as Handala had claimed. Indeed, Handala’s claims and purported threats to Israeli citizens are the hallmarks of a psyops (psychological operations) campaign designed to instill fear in the people of its long-time enemy.

Nonetheless, Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point says there is evidence that Handala had attempted to meddle with Israeli civilian air defense systems in the week prior to the attack. Check Point also believes that Handala hacked into a cyber college with ties to the Israeli military over the weekend and exposed gigabytes of sensitive data.

Related to Iran’s attack, a Bangladeshi cyber group took down important websites in Jordan, one of the countries that had assisted in destroying Iranian missiles, as retaliation for the country’s involvement in defending Israel, Check Point stated.[1]


[1] https://www.politico.com/newsletters/weekly-cybersecurity/2024/04/15/how-israels-cyber-defenses-fared-during-iran-strikes-00152178

About the Author
Todd Faulk
Todd Faulk
Senior Editor
Updated on: April 17, 2024

About the Author

Todd Faulk is a Senior Editor at SafetyDetectives. He has more than 20 years of professional experience editing intelligence reports, course plans, and online articles. He's a freelancer who has produced work for a wide variety of clients, including the US Government, financial institutions, and travel and technology websites. Todd is a constant traveler, writer of his own travel blog, and avid reader of new developments in science and technology.