IDF soldiers of the first-ever 'Cyber Defenders' class 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The IDF made history on Tuesday with the graduation of its first class of Cyber
Defenders, a new role established the C4I Directorate established to prevent
online attacks against IDF networks.
Around 30 soldiers completed the
course. Following their graduation, the soldiers will be assigned to the IDF’s
various branches where they will be responsible for preventing online
infiltrations of military networks.
The graduation ceremony comes a year
after the IDF General Staff established a Cyber Defense Division in the C4I
Directorate, which is responsible for protecting IDF networks from hackers and
A few months ago, 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 cyber-warfare capabilities.
Due to the presumed increase in the
cyber threat to Israel, the IDF General Staff recently approved a multiyear
program to beef up cyber defense including the expansion of personnel and
development of new technological capabilities.
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
a new division within the C4I Directorate.
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.
“This is a growing threat
that we need to be prepared for,” a senior IDF officer from the C4I Directorate
explained earlier this week.
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 the Tzayad digital army program that allows units to share information
on the location of friendly and hostile units.
“Our job is to understand
the network, live and breathe it and as quickly as possible detect something
suspicious,” one of the graduates, who could only be identified as U. –
the first letter of his name – explained.