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Israel’s National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz issued a HIGH ALERT warning for the country’s energy and water infrastructure on Saturday afternoon.

The move comes on the heels of the world wide cyber hacking that took place a few days ago.

Israel is implementing emergency measures to protect and increase the readiness of the country’s infrastructure, in accordance with the pattern of attacks currently taking place around the world.

These activities were coordinated by the Energy Ministry’s cyber center, which was established a year ago in order to protect Israel’s energy networks from such types of attacks, the ministry said. The National Cyber Security Authority in the Prime Minister’s Office warned on Saturday night that over the past day, the WannaCry ransomware has been spreading to computers around the world through system loopholes, The Jerusalem Post reports.

However, it is possible to ward off these attacks by “immunizing” both organizational and private computers, a statement from the authority stressed. “The National Cyber Security Authority maintains constant contact with its global counterparts and security companies in Israel and around the world, in order to receive full information about the attack,” the statement said.

Among the specific actions recommended by the authority are backing up data on a platform separate from current backup systems, as well as installing all anti-virus, security and Microsoft operating system updates. The authority also warned against opening emails sent from unknown sources or clicking on links from unrecognized parties. Detailed technical information and professional recommendations for large organizations are available on the authority’s website.

“This attack can definitely infect computers in Israel. To the best of my knowledge, this is not a targeted attack and more of a worm. A worm that attacks unpatched computers and spreads over insecure networks,” said Itzik Kotler, Co-Founder & CTO of SafeBreach a local cybersecurity firm. “Israel has no advantage over other nations when it comes to such attacks. Legacy code (that runs on legacy operation systems) and open networks is a global problem.”

This week’s attack used ransomware, which is malware that encrypts data and locks a user from their data until they pay a ransom. The tool, which was leaked by a group known as Shadow Brokers, had been stolen from the N.S.A. as part of a wide swath of tools illegally released in 2016.

Ransomware is a computer virus that attacks a computer or system’s functionality, so the hackers deploying it can demand payment to restore the ability to operate.

Reports suggest that companies and institutions in at least 70 countries have been targeted by the “WannaCry” malware, including the U.K.’s National Health Service.

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The malware has been hitting Microsoft Windows systems. Victims find their computers locked down, and receive a message demanding payment of $300 in Bitcoin digital currency, reports indicated.

“What’s turning out to look like a consorted massive ransomware attack hitting targets worldwide is at an unprecedented scale,” Simon Crosby, chief technology officer of Cupertino cybersecurity firm Bromium, said in a statement.

“The suspected syndicated attack is unique in that it’s not targeted at any one industry or region, and is using a particularly nasty form of malware that can move through a corporate network from a single entry point.”

It’s a crazy world out there folks.


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