The Technion Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa experienced a cyber attack on its computer servers this morning, causing a complete outage of its website. The hacker group, DarkBit, demanded 80 bitcoins, equivalent to $1,747,971, from the institute.

Classes and other activities at the campus have been temporarily stopped.

The Technion campus in Haifa is considered an elite technical institute with significant international credibility.

DarkBit seems to be a new group, formed on February 11th, shortly before the attack. However, it’s highly likely that they are a re-brand or re-consolidation of other entities.

A ransom image found this morning on devices linked to the Technion servers.

We hacked #Technion, the technological core of an apartheid regime.
They should pay for their lies and crimes, their names and shames. They should pay for occupation, war crimes against humanity, killing the people (not only the palestinians’ bodies, but also Israeli’s souls) and destroying the future and all dreams we had. They should pay for firing high-skilled experts.
Say goodbye to your security if you support or have any kind of any collaboration or partnership with #Israel, or you pay its expensive price.

DarkBit‘s public statement on Telegram

The group has provided an Onion address to a leak blog, though as of 1740 local time, nothing had been published to the page.

As of 1730 local time, we were still unable to access the institution’s website.

Attribution and motivation have yet to be reliably established. It has been proposed that the Technion would be a target for threat actors because of its alleged connections to organizations in Israel’s defense apparatus.

As the story is developing, it’s important to remember that there is a common perception that the situation between Israel and Palestine is escalating, as well as there being several recent incidents between Israel and Iran.

An anonymous source closely involved with Middle East hacktivism has stated that the attack may have been in response to an attempt to shut down another group participating in actions against the Iranian government, as well. If this is the case, attributing DarkBit to an Iranian proxy seems unlikely (though not impossible).

Very few details about this attack have been publicly confirmed by any authorities.