The IDF is prepared for an 'alien invasion'

This is the brink of cyber defense training.

February 23, 2015 19:21
2 minute read.

Artist's rendering of extra-terrestrial [file]. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)


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Lights appear in the dim night sky. An unknown number of alien spaceships are descending on Earth. The world's inhabitants take refuge in shelters. Time is running out. How would the Israel Defense Forces face this alien invasion threatening to destroy the world?

The IDF looks to its tech-force for answers.

This was the premise for last night's training exercise for the Israel Air Force's computer programming unit "Ofek" (horizon), meant to instill in the participants the importance of cyber defense by trying to sabotage the technological system of the alien spacecraft.

"The participants of the exercise work daily on developing operational programs for the air force," explained the commander of the engineering unit to the IDF website, Lt. Col. Meir.

"The goal was to make them understand the importance developing [cyber] defense. We adapted the exercise to Generation Y, which loves challenges. So we prepared the framing story of an alien invasion," explained the commander.

This strange exercise was all about putting the soldiers in the enemy's shoes.

"During the exercise, teams competed against each other to hack the intended system we built for them," said the head of the cyber department, Maj. Gil. While trying to hack the system, the major said the soldiers tried to gather as much as information as possible on the alien spaceships.

"We wanted them to understand the importance of guarding the secrecy of  [air] force information," said the major.

Israel has been the ever-increasing target of cyber attacks in recent years. During the 50-day conflict between Israel and Hamas this past summer, it appeared that Hamas managed to infiltrate a number of civilian communication systems, according to the IDF, who also mounted their own cyber attacks against Hamas-affiliated websites. 

Last week, The Jerusalem Post reported that Gaza-based hackers launched cyber attacks against Israeli targets using a pornographic video clip.

Last Sunday, Israel’s cabinet approved the creation of a National Cyber Authority, a companion to the already-existing Israel National Cyber Bureau (INCB), that would focus on cyber threats in the civilian sector.

“Cyber threats can paralyze nations. This is a strategic threat that can paralyze and hurt no less than other threats in various fields and we must be prepared to for it on the national and international levels,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Niv Elis contributed to this report.

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