The IDF made history on Tuesday with the graduation of its first class of Cyber Defenders, a new role established the C4I Directorate established to prevent online attacks against IDF networks.Around 30 soldiers completed the course. Following their graduation, the soldiers will be assigned to the IDF’s various branches where they will be responsible for preventing online infiltrations of military networks.The graduation ceremony comes a year after the IDF General Staff established a Cyber Defense Division in the C4I Directorate, which is responsible for protecting IDF networks from hackers and infiltrations.A few months ago, The Jerusalem Post reported on an ambitious Iranian plan to invest $1 billion to develop technology and hire computer experts with the goal of boosting the Islamic Republic’s offensive and defensive cyber-warfare capabilities.Due to the presumed increase in the cyber threat to Israel, the IDF General Staff recently approved a multiyear program to beef up cyber defense including the expansion of personnel and development of new technological capabilities.The IDF also organized the units that deal with cyber-warfare, establishing offensive capabilities and operations within Military Intelligence’s Unit 8200 and defensive operations in a new division within the C4I Directorate.The government recently established a cyber task force that will be responsible for improving Israeli defenses and coordinating the development of new software and capabilities between local defense and hi-tech companies.“This is a growing threat that we need to be prepared for,” a senior IDF officer from the C4I Directorate explained earlier this week.One of the IDF’s primary concerns is the possibility that an enemy will topple military networks during a war. In recent years, the military has invested heavily in digitizing its ground forces – for example the Tzayad digital army program that allows units to share information on the location of friendly and hostile units.“Our job is to understand the network, live and breathe it and as quickly as possible detect something suspicious,” one of the graduates, who could only be identified as U. – the first letter of his name – explained.
Officer of the Cyber Defenders (Photograph: Marc Israel Sellem)
Soldier in Cyber Defenders points to pin (Photograph: Marc Israel Sellem)
Newly-graduated soldiers receive rankings (Photograph: Marc Israel Sellem)
IDF soldiers in the first-ever Cyber Defenders class (Photograph: Marc Israel Sellem)
Soldiers participate in graduation ceremony (Photograph: Marc Israel Sellem)