The IDF is assembling elite teams of computer hackers to lead the nation’s
The move comes amid concern over the growing
threat to Israel’s civilian and military networks from Iran, senior officers
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Last month, the army recruited close to 300 young computer experts,
many of them without college or even high-school degrees.
“These are some
of the top experts in their field,” a senior officer said.
soldiers will serve in Military Intelligence as well as in the C4I Directorate,
the two military branches responsible for cyber-warfare in the IDF.
stands for command, control, communications, computers, and (military)
The decision to recruit the soldiers is part of a new IDF
multi-year plan aimed at boosting the military’s cyber-warfare
Last month, The Jerusalem Post
reported on an ambitious
Iranian plan to invest $1 billion
to develop technology and hire computer
experts with the goal of boosting the Islamic Republic’s offensive and defensive
Israel is also concerned about terrorist
cyber attacks, demonstrated by the release of thousands of Israeli credit card
numbers by a Saudi hacker this past week.
“We are not where we would like
to be when it comes to the cyber world and we are working to improve our
capabilities,” the senior officer said.
The government recently
established a cyber task force that will be responsible for improving Israeli
defenses and coordinating the development of new software and capabilities
between local defense and hi-tech companies.
The IDF recently organized
the units that deal with cyber-warfare, establishing offensive capabilities and
operations within Military Intelligence’s Unit 8200 and defensive operations
within a new division within the C4I Directorate.
The new division is run
by a colonel who took up his post over the summer. The officer is the former
commander of Matzov, the unit that is responsible for protecting the IDF
networks and a Hebrew acronym for “Center for Encryption and Information
Matzov writes the codes that encrypt IDF, Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency) and Mossad networks, as well as mainframes in national
corporations, such as the Israel Electrical Corp., the Mekorot national water
company and the Bezeq telephone company.
One of the IDF’s primary
concerns is the possibility that an enemy will topple military networks during a
war. In recent years, the military has invested heavily in digitizing its ground
forces, for example with the Tzayad digital army program that allows units to
share information on the location of friendly and hostile units.
cyber defense means retaining the ability to continue operating and to be able
to rely on the security and availability of our networks,” a senior officer from
the C4I Directorate explained recently.