Cyber attack can 'collapse states,' Knesset c'ttee warns

MK Sheetrit: No military can come to the rescue of a cyber attack; official says such attacks are no longer science fiction.

July 4, 2011 19:38
1 minute read.
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Computer technology keyboard 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters/Catherine Benson)


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An Internet-based cyber attack could lead to the collapse of a nation if proper defenses are not in place, the chairman of the Knesset’s Science and Technology Committee warned on Monday.

MK Meir Sheetrit’s committee heard a range of views on the latest threats, some of which emphasized the need to bring defenses around vital civilian infrastructure, such as financial services, up to speed.

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'Cybernetics arms race is underway,' new study says

“Without tanks, and without planes... it is possible to bring about the collapse of a country, and no military can come to the rescue. It is vital that basic steps are initiated to ensure the continuity of computing systems,” Sheetrit said during the meeting, according to a Calcalist report.

Sheetrit added that legislation was needed to provide cyber defenses for crucial potential civilian targets.

Addressing the committee, the chairman of the Israel National Council for Research and Development, Prof. Israel Ben-Itzhak, warned that there was a gap between well-developed Internet defenses in place around security infrastructure and less developed defenses around civilian sites.

“People don’t understand the depth of the threat,” he said.

The fact that some cyberattacks could cause major damage to a state was no longer “science fiction,” Ben- Itzhak said, adding that computer viruses and other forms of attacks could paralyze a modern country.

Last month, a study released by Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies said a worldwide cybernetics arms race has already begun, including the establishment of offices and headquarters in various countries dedicated to this new battleground.

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