Shin Bet: Critical infrastructure targeted by cyber-warfare

"There are fingerprints and tracks that maybe there were attempts, and they were treated," Shin Bet chief Diskin says.

May 5, 2011 03:58
1 minute read.
Stuxnet Virus

Stuxnet 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Israel has detected what appears to have been attempts to use cyber-warfare to attack critical state infrastructure, outgoing Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin said on Wednesday.

Speaking to military reporters ahead of his scheduled retirement later this month, Diskin said that the Shin Bet, which is responsible for defending state infrastructure – including the water system and electrical grid from cyber attacks – has detected “fingerprints” and “tracks” of attempted attacks.

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“All over the world, including in Israel, there are cyber attacks,” Diskin said. “We can’t say for certain the attacks were against critical infrastructure, but there are fingerprints and tracks that maybe there were attempts, and they were treated.”

The Shin Bet, Diskin said, recently completed a major review of its technological and cyber capabilities, and has outlined a multi-year plan that will be implemented in the coming months by his successor Yoram Cohen, his former deputy.

“Israel needs to grow in this field since this is something that is happening today already – and is not waiting for tomorrow,” he said. “This is a threat that is already knocking on our door.”

The IDF recently organized its cyber capabilities by establishing a special division under the Military Intelligence’s signal intelligence unit 8200, which is responsible for cyber-warfare.

It has also reinforced its defensive capabilities, aimed at protecting military communication networks, which sits under the C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) Directorate.

Israel’s cyber capabilities are presumed to be some of the most advanced in the world, and 8200 is suspected of developing the Stuxnet worm, which attacked Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility last year, reportedly causing extensive damage.

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