An Israeli cyber security agency is under fire after it was caught using a “white hat” operation to steal and sell security information, the first time the country’s spy agency has been exposed for such activities.
The intelligence agency, known as the Shin Bet, is considered the most powerful of Israel’s security agencies, known for its surveillance and infiltration of Palestinians and other vulnerable groups.
However, its activities have come under criticism in recent years, with critics saying that the agency does not protect its own citizens from the most serious cyberattacks.
The Shin Bet was also behind a hacking incident in 2009 that compromised data from more than 2 million Israeli citizens, and a 2016 hack of the Bank of Israel, which also affected more than 1 million people.
Last year, the Shin Beit, an Israeli branch of the U.S.-based National Security Agency, was exposed for stealing sensitive information from U.K. companies, which was carried out by a Shin Bet operative who was later arrested.
The spy agency’s director, Yossi Cohen, has said the agency was “a target of attack for years” by a cyber crime group called the Shadow Brokers.
The attacks, in which hackers took over servers and stole data, were launched during the 2016 presidential campaign, after Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, promised to ban the use of computers in the country for cyber attacks.
The Shadow Broker also targeted Israel’s nuclear agency, the Nuclear Authority.
The NSA, which employs some 700 people, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The U.N. Security Council unanimously condemned the attacks in a resolution last year.
The Israeli Cyber Security Authority (ICSA) said in a statement on Tuesday that it “does not intend to make public any information that would allow the Israeli public to believe that it is working for the defense of its citizens.”
The Shin Beid, which is run by a board of directors of Shin Bet and the Shin Beta, oversees the cyber division, known informally as the Security Intelligence Unit (SUI).
The ICSA is a separate entity from the Shin Dablon, the secretive Shin Bet spy agency.
The ICCA is part of a new organization established by the Israeli government to create cyber defense units and a unit that manages the security of sensitive Israeli technology.
The SUI was created in 2005, according to ICSA, with the goal of providing a “comprehensive cybersecurity and information protection capability for the Israel Defense Forces.”
The ICDA also oversees the Shin Deron, an independent military intelligence agency.
Its activities include analyzing intelligence and analyzing foreign cyber threats.
The watchdog also oversees a cyber unit, the Cyber Security Directorate (CSD), that handles data mining and analyzing information from Israel’s private sector, according the ICCA.
Israel’s ICCA has not commented on its operations in recent months.
According to ICCA documents, in December 2016, the ICSA was accused of hacking the Netivot cybersecurity center in southern Israel and stealing sensitive computer equipment.
The breach, which included data from nearly 20,000 Netivot computers, compromised the computers and software used to administer the center.
The Netivot Center, which provides IT services to the Israeli Defense Force and the Israeli Air Force, said in its statement on Monday that it was the target of the cyberattack.
The cyberattack on the NetivCenter was a response to a security breach in March 2017, the center said in the statement.
The center said it was notified of the breach in February 2017, but did not receive any reports until late last year, when it received the first information about the breach.
“The cyberattack targeted the NetivoCenter’s systems and equipment, including the servers and networked applications that run NetivoCases,” the center added.
The security breach was discovered when the ICDA began receiving reports about the cyber attacks on NetivoCoaches.
NetivoCaches, a cybersecurity system used by the military and intelligence agencies, allows employees to manage the files on their computers, such as photos, documents, videos and other data.
The information contained in the Netvos is stored on servers located at Netivo.
NetivCoaches was one of the organizations that received the breach reports, ICCA said.
In a statement, the organization said it had “been investigating and is cooperating with the Israeli authorities to ensure that the security breaches reported are indeed the result of malicious actors.”
In the past, Israel has been accused of cyber espionage and attacks against foreign companies.
In October, the Israeli High Court ruled that an Israeli citizen convicted of hacking to steal information on U.A.E. military bases in 2006 and 2010 should be released from prison.
That same month, a former Israeli soldier, Eliezer Pappe, pleaded guilty to hacking to gain access to documents about U.B.E.’s operations in Gaza.