Prime minister announces new cyber defense taskforce

Taskforce to develop Israel's defense capabilities against cyber terrorism and "will place Israel at the forefront of the cyber world."

May 18, 2011 12:43
1 minute read.
Netanyahu establishes taskfore on cyber terror.

Netanyahu cyber warfare 311 . (photo credit: Amos BenGershom/GPO‬)

A national cyber defense taskforce will be set up to defend Israel’s vital infrastructure from Internet-based terror attacks, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

The announcement was made hours before Lebanese and Syrian hackers attacked the Facebook page of the Haifa Municipality.


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“Haifa belongs to Palestine,” the hackers wrote. “We're coming. The end of the Zionists is near,” the message read, alongside an image of Syrian President Basher Assad.

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The National Internet Defense Taskforce is being established in accordance with recommendations by the Higher Committee for Science and Technology, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Wednesday.

“The main responsibility of the taskforce will be to expand the state’s ability to defend vital infrastructure networks against cybernetic terrorist attacks perpetrated by foreign countries and terrorist elements,” the statement said.

In recent years, online attacks of infrastructure have become more destructive. The Prime Mininister's Office said hackers were able to disrupt Brazil's electric grid, and attack Estonia's banking system.

“Israeli electronic networks are also under permanent threat,” the Prime Minister’s Office said, citing in 2008 when the Bank of Israel’s website was shut down, and last June following the Turkish flotilla incident when hackers attacked many Israeli Internet sites, including that of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality.

The taskforce will also encourage the hi-tech sector to work with the government to develop Internet defenses for domestic use and export.

During a conference held at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center’s Institute for Counter-Terrorism in November 2010, experts said the government’s Internet portals are the most targeted networks in the world, coming under relentless attacks by cyber-jihadis and hostile “hacktivisits.”

While the majority of attacks do not penetrate defenses, a special team works 24-hours-a-day to ensure the attacks that do succeed are quickly neutralized, the experts said.

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