The army is initiating a course to teach senior field commanders about cyber space and the way it can affect large-scale ground operations.

Overseen by the IDF’s C4I Directorate, the course is aimed at teaching senior officers, mainly infantry, armor and artillery brigade commanders, about cyber space and cyber warfare.

News of the course comes amid reports that Israel was behind a series of recent cyber attacks against Iran in an aim to undermine its nuclear program.

The most recent virus, Flame, was discovered to have infected a significant number of computers in the Islamic Republic.

Flame effectively turns every computer it infects into the ultimate spy. It can turn on PC microphones to record conversations taking place near the computer, take screenshots, log instant messaging chats, gather data files and remotely change settings on computers.

The C4I Directorate is implementing a series of changes aiming at bolstering defenses of military networks, like establishing a new position for each battalion of an officer who will be in charge of operating Tzayad, the army’s digital system that allows units to share information on the location of friendly and hostile forces as well as imagery collected from ground and aerial sensors. The IDF is concerned that enemy forces will succeed in penetrating Tzayad in a future conflict.

And in April, the first class of Cyber Defenders – a new role established by the C4I Directorate – graduated. Soldiers who completed the course were assigned to the IDF’s various branches where they are now responsible for preventing online infiltrations of military networks.

Due to the presumed increase in the cyber threat to Israel, the General Staff recently approved a multiyear program to beef up cyber defense.

The IDF also organized the units that deal with cyber warfare, establishing offensive capabilities and operations within Military Intelligence’s Unit 8200 and defensive operations in the C4I Directorate’s Cyber Defenders Division.

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.

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