Israel Defense Minister’s Cleaner Jailed for Attempting to Spy for Iran-Linked Hackers

Written by Techjuice Team ·  1 min read >
Isreal defense

A former housekeeper for Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz will be imprisoned for three years for allegedly attempting to infect the official’s computer with malware in exchange for payment from Iran-linked hackers.

According to the BBC, the cleaner consented to a plea agreement in order to avoid prosecution on espionage charges, which carry a penalty of 10 to 15 years.

Last November, the cleaner, a 38-year-old Lod resident who had purportedly worked in Gantz’s home for several years, was arrested and charged with espionage. According to an indictment obtained by Business Insider, the cleaner reportedly spoke with members of the hacker organization Black Shadow through Telegram. The cleaner reportedly volunteered to give the hacker’s information from within Gantz’s residence in exchange for roughly $7,000 and even allegedly offered to connect a filthy USB device to Gantz’s computer to infect it. Furthermore, authorities claim the cleaner transmitted images of the defense minister’s computer and other objects to the hackers in order to establish he had access to the property.

The former cleaner’s attorney told The Times of Israel that he “is not a spy,” and that their client did not consciously try to spy for Iran. That’s crucial because, as you may know, Israel and Iran don’t get along.

Israel defense

“This is about an individual who got himself into debt and discovered a security hole,” the attorneys explained.

The cleaner, on the other hand, allegedly stated he meant to deceive the hackers.

“If they had waited a few days before detaining me, they would have seen that I’m not a spy,” the cleaner allegedly told The Times of Israel. “I intended to deceive the Iranians and steal their money without delivering them any photos or documentation.”

The Shin Bet security organization in Israel admits to “many mistakes” in the vetting procedure that led to the cleaner’s hire. Following the cleaner’s arrest, an inquiry revealed that he had five prior convictions and four jail terms. Two of them were apparently bank robberies.

Last year, Black Shadow was allegedly behind a series of cyber attacks targeting Israeli authorities. The organization allegedly acquired access to the computers of Israeli web hosting business Cyberserve last October. Months later, the gang revealed identities and passwords obtained from Atraf, an Israeli LGBTQ dating service.

In recent years, Israel and Iran have escalated their cyberwarfare against one another.

Rather than negotiating discreetly with victims, as most cybercriminals do in order to make a fast profit, Black Shadow has a propensity to release important data to the public in order to draw attention to its targets. Because of its hacktivist tendencies, security analysts believe the organization is ideologically affiliated with the Iranian government.

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