How Israel is thinking outside the box to stop cyber terror

Recognized as the fourth front, soldiers of the IDF's Cyber Defense Academy train for threats in a world with no rules.

Cyber hackers [illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
Cyber hackers [illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel is a world leader in cyber defense, and it all starts in the nondescript buildings of the IDF’s Cyber Defense Academy in central Israel.
“We’ve stopped being a nation that just picks oranges.
Everything starts and ends with the idea of the ‘Start- Up Nation,’” a senior officer in Israel’s C4I and IT Cyber Defense Academy told The Jerusalem Post, adding that “it is technology that is helping win wars quicker and more effectively.”
Police cyber crime unit situation room
The dangers posed by cyber crime or cyber terrorism has been characterized as a significant world-wide threat and the soldiers of the IDF’s C41 unit work on around the clock to counter and deter these types of threats posed to Israel by her enemies.
In a world where there are no rules, the senior officer explained that the enemy has the motivation and the larger groups like Hezbollah may even have the ability to hack into the computer systems on rockets launched by Israel against her enemies and turn them against Israeli citizens instead.
“A rocket launched by Israel may be hacked and instead of hitting the proper target it may strike a kindergarten.
Then it’s game over,” he said.
As the cyber terrorist threat continues to grow, so does the knowledge of the soldiers in the IT and Cyber Defense Academy. Known as the “Start-Up Nation,” Israel has thousands of companies providing pioneering technology to customers around the globe.
“The world is completely attached to the Internet and world of cyber. Generation Z learns differently than we did. If we don’t teach them in an effective way then they won’t learn,” the senior officer explained.
“You must be continuously changing or else you are no longer relevant,” he added.
According to the senior officer, the biggest threat to Israel is cyber terrorism but the IDF is continuously growing to counter it and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot has realized that there are now four fronts during wartime – the air, ground, sea and cyber. Speaking in March at the Meir Dagan Conference at the Netanya Academic College, Eisenkot confirmed his statement, saying that cyber warfare is the fourth biggest threat facing Israel, calling it a “new threat whose power we are only now starting to see.”
“We’ve made changes to our level of preparedness, both on the military and state levels. We have made much progress in our defense and attack capabilities in the cyber department, out of the understanding that this threat will only grow in the near future,” Eisenkot added.
For the senior officer, it is imperative to think constantly outside the box in the world of cyber terrorism.
“We need to be ready for the knife in the hand of a terrorist just like we must be ready for a terrorist to hack into a computer. We must be ready for both the strategic and tactical threats.”