Cyber defense war room 370.
(photo credit: Reuters and Marc Israel Sellem)
Senior defense officials expressed confidence that Israel’s military networks
were secure and protected from cyber attacks, as Strategic Affairs Minister
Moshe Ya’alon hinted on Tuesday that Israel might have been behind the latest
computer virus to attack Iran.
Ya’alon fueled speculation of Israeli
involvement in the cyber attack when he told Army Radio on Tuesday that “whoever
sees the Iranian threat as a serious threat would be likely to take different
steps, including these, in order to hurt them.”
Ya’alon went a step
further and discussed Israel’s technological capabilities.
blessed to be a nation possessing superior technology. These achievements
of ours open up all kinds of possibilities for us,” he said.
suggests that the virus, dubbed “Flame,” may have been developed on behalf of
the same nation or nations that commissioned the Stuxnet worm that attacked
Iran’s nuclear program in 2010, according to Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cyber security software group that took credit for discovering the
Israel has been widely accused of developing Stuxnet, possibly
together with the US.
Military Intelligence’s Unit 8200 is responsible
within Israel for offensive cyber attacks and the Mossad is also presumed to
have some independent capabilities of its own.
While Israel is one of the
prime suspects with regard to Flame, other countries would also have an interest
in such technology, which officials admitted was an advanced “espionage
Flame effectively turns every computer it infects into the
ultimate spy. It can turn on microphones to record conversations taking place
near computers, take screenshots, log instant messaging chats, gather data files
and remotely change settings on computers.
Later on Tuesday Ya’alon
backtracked and issued a statement saying that “plenty of advanced Western
countries with apparent cyber-warfare capabilities view Iran and especially its
nuclear program as a real threat.” He added that Israel was making significant
investments in preventing cyber attacks.
A top defense official involved
in shielding military networks from attacks told The Jerusalem Post
that while there was no such thing as a hermetic defense, Israel had created
effective systems to prevent cyber attacks.
“Our defenses are good and
are far more advanced than those that exist in the civilian world,” the official
said. “All of our systems are hardened and protected with encryption and various
Last year the IDF established a Cyber Defense Division in
the C4I Directorate, which is responsible for protecting army networks from
hackers and infiltrators.
Due to the presumed increase in the cyber
threat to Israel – a few months ago, the Post reported on an ambitious Iranian
plan to invest $1 billion on cyber warfare – the IDF recently approved a
multi-year program to beef up cyber defenses, including the expansion of
personnel as well as new technological capabilities.Reuters contributed
to this report.