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Israel defence minister's cleaner jailed for trying to spy for Iran-linked hackers

todaySeptember 6, 2022 1

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By David Gritten

BBC News

Benny Gantz speaks at the Israel Democracy Institute (23 August 2022)Image source, EPA

Image caption,

Omri Goren sent the hackers photographs of items in the home of Defence Minister Benny Gantz (pictured)

An Israeli court has jailed a former housekeeper for Defence Minister Benny Gantz who attempted to pass information to an Iran-linked hacking group.

Omri Goren, 38, was sentenced to three years in prison under a plea deal that saw prosecutors drop espionage charges.

The Israeli justice ministry said Goren told Black Shadow hackers he could send information on Mr Gantz and put malware on his computer in exchange for money.

But he denied knowingly attempting to spy for Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy.

“This is about a man who found himself entangled in debt and identified a security breach,” they added.

Goren reportedly told investigators that he had planned to trick the hackers into giving him money without handing over any information.

The initial indictment released last November alleged that Goren reached out to Black Shadow on Telegram after reading Israeli media reports about its hacking attempts.

To prove that he worked for Mr Gantz he sent photographs of items in the minister’s home, including his desk, computer, a safe and tax records, it said.

The justice ministry said Goren’s attempt was thwarted by the Shin Bet security service and that no classified material was revealed.

However, the Shin Bet did face questions about how Goren was allowed to work for the defence minister when he had previously been sentenced to prison on four occasions, including for armed robbery.

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