IDF sets up new cyber-defense division

Unit headed by former commander of Matzov, unit responsible for protecting IDF networks.

June 28, 2011 03:12
1 minute read.
Stuxnet Virus

Stuxnet 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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In the face of growing cyber threats against Israel, the IDF recently beefed up its defenses with the establishment of a new division in the C4I Directorate, responsible for defending military networks from enemy hackers.

The new division is run by a colonel who took his post several weeks ago. The officer is the former commander of Matzov, the unit responsible for protecting the IDF networks (and a Hebrew acronym for Center for Encryption and Information Security).

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Matzov writes the codes that encrypt IDF, Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Mossad networks – as well as mainframes in national corporations, such as the Israel Electrical Corp., Mekorot, the national water company and Bezeq.

The decision to establish the new division was made last year by former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, as part of the restructuring of the IDF’s cyber capabilities.

Under the new structure, active capabilities and intelligence- gathering operations are based within Military Intelligence’s Unit 8200, and defensive operations were assembled within the new division under the C4I Directorate.

“The threat is real and this is something we are working on all the time,” a senior IDF officer said this week about the threat Israel faces from cyberwarfare. “Every project within the military today undergoes a review [of] how it can best be protected.”


In addition, the C4I Directorate recently established a special team of computer experts which impersonates the enemy and tries to breach IDF firewalls and encryptions for strategic planning.

Last month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced the establishment of a new national cyber-defense taskforce to defend Israel’s vital infrastructure from Internet-based terror attacks.

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

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