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On the 14th of March, the Israeli government suffered a DDoS attack that affected several government sites, including the Justice and Welfare, Health, and Interior Ministry websites. According to Haaretz, the Israeli daily, a source within the Israeli defense stated that the cyber-attack is perhaps the largest the country has ever witnessed.

Israel's National Cyber Directorate said on Twitter, "In the past few hours, a DDoS attack against a communications provider was identified. As a result, access to several websites, among them government websites, was denied for a short time. As of now, all of the websites have returned to normal activity."

However, the internet watchdog organization NetBlocks did state that later on the day of the attack, the websites were indeed accessible inside Israel but "unreachable internationally."

This was confirmed by AFP journalists who, just after 2000 GMT, tried to reach several government sites, including the National Cyber Directorate website but found them inaccessible.

In a report published last year, the agency said that cyberattacks worldwide had increased dramatically, both in Israel and the world.

A DDoS is short for Distributed denial of service attack and is a type of cyberattack that works by flooding a website with illegitimate traffic that overwhelms the servers and prevents legitimate users from accessing the website's services.

One way DDoS attacks can be prevented is through VPNs. They make it harder to track a network making it more difficult for a particular IP address to be targeted. Because of its efficacy, VPN is a popular and simple way to hide your IP address from would-be attackers. However, should an IP address already be known to a hacker, a VPN becomes ineffective. Given that cyberattacks rose 105% last year, prevention tactics such as VPNs are becoming all the more essential.

Despite being able to rectify the situation, the National Cyber Directorate could not identify the people behind the attack though Iran is an obvious suspect.

The two countries have been engaged in a cold war that has seen escalations in both cyber and physical attacks. The most recent incident between the two came just the day before the cyberattack on Sunday when Iran launched an estimated 12 ballistic missiles at Israel's 'strategic centers' located in Iraq at the northern city of Erbil.

The Kurdish authorities controlling the region however denied the presence of Israeli sites in that location.

Israel government sources last year stated their belief that Iran has been involved in drone attacks across the Middle East in a bid to coerce the United States into softening its demands that Tehran's nuclear program be curtailed.

Israeli intelligence believes that there is a correlation between the timing of Iran's drone attacks on Persian Gulf targets and its negotiations with the US and other powers concerning its nuclear program. Officials in Israel believe that Iran is behind the attacks and is hiding behind proxies to mask its role in the drone strikes.

Negotiations over the nuclear deal that aims to curb Iran's nuclear program have been ongoing for 11 months, and an agreement is seemingly far at hand. In March, State Department Spokesman Ned Price stated that "We are prepared to make difficult decisions to return Iran's nuclear program to its JCPOA limits."

He was speaking of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), whose goal was to have Iran roll back its nuclear ambitions. Iran states the deal is being held back as they seek "economic guarantees" to ensure that future US administrations do not renege on the deal as Donald Trump did back in 2018.

President Joe Biden has firmed his stance on a nuclear Iran. In his statement, Spokesman Price said, "President Biden has made a commitment that Iran under his watch will not be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon. And that commitment is as true and sturdy in a world in which we have a JCPOA and one in which we don't."

Israel, for its part, is highly suspicious of the negotiations and has balked at the type of concessions the US is willing to make so that a nuclear deal is reached. They have expressed deep dissatisfaction with reports that the US might delist Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror group.

"We are very concerned about the United States' intention to give in to Iran's outrageous demand and remove the IRGC from the list of terrorist organizations," Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said late last month. "Even now, the IRGC terrorist organization is trying to murder certain Israelis and Americans around the world. Unfortunately, there is still determination to sign the nuclear deal with Iran at almost any cost – including saying that the world's largest terrorist organization is not a terrorist organization. This is too high a price."