IDF cyber defense war room .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM,REUTERS)
The IDF is looking at the possibility of unifying cyber defense and offense into a single branch. The functions are currently carried out by two separate bodies.
According to a report by the Hebrew language People and Computers technological website, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot could set up a single center that would bring military cyber defenders and attackers together.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office confirmed the report on Monday, saying that the issue is being examined by a team from the General Staff, which will then “present its conclusions for Eisenkot’s approval.”
Currently, Military Intelligence is in charge of cyber attacks, while the C4i (Command and Control, Communications, and Computers) Directorate runs cyber defenses from its Cyber Defense Division.
According to People and Computers, should the IDF set up a joint wing, it will constitute a full military branch, with wide-ranging authority.
As the IDF becomes increasingly dependent on digital networks for its combat capabilities, the issue of cyber security has become paramount. Last year, a senior security source revealed that during the conflict with Hamas over the summer, Iran attempted to conduct a large-scale cyber attack on civilian communications and IDF websites.
“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.
Cyber attackers targeted IDF websites, but online defenses withstood the assault, the source said.
Israeli defense firms have in recent years significantly expanded their activities in the realm of cyber defenses, building solutions for clients in Israel and broad.
Last year, Esti Peshin, director of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) cyber section, and a former senior member of the IDF’s highly classified Military Intelligence Unit 8200, said, “We have a national responsibility to be independent in this area. Israeli defense industries have to take a lead role.
We have the infrastructure and platforms to take the lead.”
Military Intelligence’s offensive cyber division is not only able to attack enemy systems; it also mines data and combines it with visual and signals intelligence.
This technique was used to create a digital map of Gaza so detailed that thousands of targets appeared on it, and every building in Gaza was shown from four different angles.