A world-wide cybernetics arms race has already begun, including the
establishment of offices and headquarters in various countries dedicated to this
latest battleground, a study by Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National
Security Studies said this week.
The study, co-authored by INSS senior
researcher Shmuel Even, and senior IDF Intelligence Directorate researcher David
Siman Tov, named the US, Britain, Germany, France and China as some of the
countries that are busy developing capabilities in the cybernetics battle
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“The cybernetic sphere is a new battleground, and joins the land,
sea, air and space arenas in modern warfare,” said the authors.
states and advanced militaries are increasing their activities in the
cybernetics sphere, which presents a source of empowerment, but is also an
Achilles’ heel,” the study says.
Vital national infrastructure such as
electricity, communications, water, transport, monetary systems and others are
based on cybernetics.
So are military command and control networks and
advanced battleground technologies, the report noted.
of the cybernetics battle arena include the ability to attack enemies situated
far away from one’s country within a fraction of a second without endangering
This makes it an attractive option for periods in between
conventional wars, said the study.
Recent examples include the attack on
Estonia in 2007, blamed on Russia, and the 2008 attack on Georgia, also blamed
The Stuxnet virus that damaged Iran’s nuclear program
illustrated the great potential of cybernetic warfare, and is considered to be a
major development, the authors added.
The study has warned that non-state
actors like terrorist organizations could carry out cyber attacks, creating the
need to develop robust defenses.
From Israel’s perspective, “IT systems
and the cybernetic sphere play a decisive role in Israel’s qualitative edge in
security and economics,” the authors said.
The IDF carried out an
“important step when, in 2009, it recognized the sphere as a new strategic and
operative arena, and set up a cyber headquarters for coordinating activities,”
said the report.
The US’s Department of Defense took a similar step in
recent years, it noted.