Iran attempted large-scale cyber-attack on Israel, senior security source says

"This is not something we have seen before, both in terms of scope and the type of targets," source says; new, integrated military communications network was used in Gaza during the conflict.

August 17, 2014 21:12
2 minute read.
Cyber hackers [illustrative]

Cyber hackers [illustrative]. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Iran attempted to conduct a large-scale cyber-attack on Israeli civilian communications during the war with Hamas this summer, a senior security source revealed on Sunday.

“This is not something we have seen before, both in terms of scope and the type of targets. They targeted communications infrastructure that belong to the civilian sector in Israel,” the source said. Iranian elements were definitely behind the attack, he said, though their aim to cause maximum disruption, was not achieved.

Cyber attackers targeted IDF websites, but online defenses withstood the assault, the source said.

The official, who is familiar with the IDF’s telecommunications capabilities, said an integrated military communications network was used in Gaza during the conflict.

The network serves all branches of the armed forces, enabling them to share intelligence.

This led to swift sensor- to-shooter cycles, in which targets that were detected in Gaza were rapidly destroyed.

In addition to being linked to one another, the ground forces, air force, and navy were directly linked to Military Intelligence.

“Our aim is to enable a military force to be far more effective than it was a year ago.

We succeeded in seeing that during this operation,” the source said.

During the conflict, Military Intelligence loaded new targets onto encrypted servers and relevant IDF units – particularly ground forces – were able to immediately access the intelligence on their command and control system.

Visual intelligence, a critical aspect of modern combat, was available on-demand as well, meaning that all ground forces received access to aerial views of combat areas before entering them.

“Seventy-five percent of the military’s visual intelligence is on the network,” the source said. “We can see, online, aerial visual intelligence, and what the aircraft is seeing,” he added and stressed that the network was highly encrypted.

Additionally, the network allowed for “intelligence- based combat” in Gaza, referring to the ability to direct ground forces to targets detected by Military Intelligence.

This included information that was obtained by questioning Hamas suspects who were taken into Israeli custody.

The intelligence was immediately transmitted to ground forces that operated in relevant areas.

“We reached a situation in which a navy vessel, armed with precision guided ammunition, received targets from the Southern Command’s target center, or from [ground forces] divisions,” the source said.

The navy fired missiles with electro-optical sensors at targets eight to nine km. inside Gaza during the war, after communicating with armored brigades on the ground and receiving target locations from them.

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