Encrypted chat program set to enter IDF enabling real-time sharing

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September 13, 2016 01:06

Inspired by existing social media and the need to coordinate forces, the IDF is introducing encrypted cellphones for data transfer.

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IDF Cyber Security

IDF cyber defense war room . (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM,REUTERS)

The IDF is introducing an encrypted cellphone chat program for commanders, enabling them to hold conversations in groups and share real-time text, images and other data on developing security incidents.

Military platforms, such as drones, will also be able to send data directly to the group chat.

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A growing number of commanders will receive access to the program, which will run on the IDF’s digital and cellular network, a senior source from the military’s Lotem C4i Technological Division told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. Lotem is the Hebrew abbreviation for Telecommunications and Operational Information Technology.

The source sketched out a scenario in which the program could soon be put to use, such as a terrorist intrusion incident along a border fence, which could be dealt with using the technology. A rapid dialogue between multiple commanders would include sharing locations of the incident, images – both photographs and, in the future, videos – and relevant targets. The application will link personnel from the ground forces, air force, navy and Military Intelligence.

“One of its biggest advantages is the cross-branch linkages it creates,” the source said.

Young officers from two Lotem units developed the application in “very little time,” the source said.

“They used open source, cutting edge technology, really creating something that is the first of its kind. Our understanding is that we have to look ahead and see what is happening in the outside world,” he added.

The officers identified a need in the military for blending mobility and communications, the source said, adding that they were inspired by existing social media platforms.

IDF platforms like jets and drones will be able to pass on information automatically to the chat’s members.

Much like Internet sites that use algorithms to suggest content to readers based on past activities, this application will use algorithms to monitor chats and suggest additional information that could prove useful for operations.

In the future, programmers could add real-time video to the application, the source added.

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