Chairman of the IEC’s Directorate, Ret. Major General 370.
(photo credit: Yossi weiss, IEC Spokesman unit)
The Israel Electric Corporation has decided to use the country’s most expert
Internet hackers to the advantage of its citizens.
The company on
Wednesday night inaugurated its “Cyber Gym,” a training area near Hadera for
“cyber warriors” to teach and learn about cyber protection against unwanted
intrusions into infrastructure and energy systems.
Aiming to safeguard
national and strategic corporations operating in Israel and abroad, the gym will
train its warriors to respond in real-time to attacks against sensitive
infrastructures such as airports, roads, power plants, water facilities and
trains, IEC said.
“[Hezbollah chief Hassan] Nasrallah and Grad missiles –
out, cyber – in,” IEC chairman Maj.- Gen. (res.) Yiftah Ron-Tal
“The State of Israel and [its] electricity sector face a time of
growing threats to communication infrastructures. There are hundreds of attempts
to intrude IEC’s systems every day. It is a nationallevel threat.”
Cyber Gym is divided into three zones, with each receiving a color to mark the
participating teams – red in the offensive area for the hackers, blue in the
defensive area and white in the control or crisis management zone. Within each
zone, participants can practice managing scenarios that simulate real-life
attacks, and some of the nation’s best hackers have been recruited to take
IEC senior executive vice president Yasha Hain led the project’s
“Looking to be leaders in technology and
fulfilling our national responsibility, we gathered a staff to locate and
monitor intrusions to the communication systems,” Ron-Tal explained. “We also
established this revolutionary facility for practicing cyber protection – the
hardest security challenge ever.”
The national electricity network faces
up to 6,000 network events per second, and each case must be examined using
advanced analytical tools, on what Ron-Tal described as “the most significant
present and future battlefield.”
Institutions depend today on stability,
security and an invulnerable cyber environment, necessitating a deep
“understanding of the attacker’s mind” – a challenge that IEC stressed the Cyber
Gym aims to tackle. Intrusions on computer systems and networks can
significantly damage organizations, including the exposure of secret and
sensitive information, disruptions to operational processes, and public health
issues, the company warned.
During the trial runs at the Cyber Gym,
representatives of organizations around the world visited the site and pledged
to participate in the program over the next two months, IEC said.
only can the Cyber Gym provide a security training tool for Israeli and foreign
corporations and public institutions, it “has the potential to create profit for
the corporation” in “such a competitive era,” explained Eli Glickman, CEO of
IEC. The IEC has experienced severe financial troubles, with debt totaling some
NIS 70 billion.
National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources
Minister Silvan Shalom meanwhile committed to establishing a “cyber staff” to
coordinate relevant operations occurring among all the major organizations
administered by his office.
“As the states of the world face organized
attacks by hackers against national infrastructures, including the electricity
systems, Israel is determined to prevent any damage to its strategic
foundations,” Shalom said. “The establishment of this cyber arena is one of the
measures taken against the attacks.”