Iranian Hacker Group Pay2Key Attacks Top Israeli Defense Corporation, Leaks Data on Dark Web

Iranian-linked hackers have targeted and compromised Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and leaked sensitive data on the dark web. The attack comes in the backdrop of Iranian pledge to retaliate against the killing of key Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadhe last month. Pay2Key, which carried out the cyberattack against Israel, is a hacker group that had evaded scrutiny in recent years.

The hack, which was unveiled Sunday night, also targeted various Israeli defense industry corporations. The hackers posting a that teases the Israelis by asking which Israeli organization was the "most secure".

The hackers then published proof for hacking into the Israeli defense agency's directory, besides showing that they also gained access to IAI subsidiary Elta Systems Ltd.

Gained Access Several Days Ago

According to cybersecurity firm Check Point, the hackers might have gained access to the IAI files several days ago. The firm also said the hackers seemed to have advanced capabilities.

Dark web
Dark Web Pixabay

Earlier, cyberattackers allegedly linked to Iran had hacked Israeli insurance company Shirbit. Hacker group Black Shadow, which carried out the operation, then leaked a trove of customer data in a ransomware attack.

On Sunday, various media organizations said the Iranian hackers published data pertaining to Elta Systems servers on the Dark Web. The information shared was not classified but what was unveiled may not be all that the hackers gained in the attack. IAI is probing the breach.

Cybersecurity firm Check Point could more or less ascertain Pay2Key's Iranian links. "We followed the sequence of transactions, which began with the deposit of the ransom and ended at what appeared to be an Iranian cryptocurrency exchange named Excoino," Check Point said.

Rising Tensions

Iran has put Israel in the dock for the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadhe, the architect of Iran's military nuclear programme. His killing was the second major blow for Iran this year, following the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the most senior commander of the Quds Forces, in a US air strike in Baghdad.

"Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist ... This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators," Iran's foreign minister Zarid said.

A top Iranian official said arch foe Israel was behind the attack. "In the last days of the political life of their ... ally (Trump), the Zionists seek to intensify pressure on Iran and create a full-blown war," Hossein Dehghan, a military adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said. He vowed retribution for the killing of Fakhrizadeh. "We will strike as thunder at the killers of this oppressed martyr and will make them regret their action," he said.