For Israel, Cyber War Is Existential And Economic Priority

ISRAEL - Israeli Defense Forces are turning their attention to a new front: the war raging in cyberspace. And in an attempt to coordinate what up to now have been disjointed, sometimes overlapping operations, the Israeli military's chief of staff recently announced the creation of a special cyber unit. The unit will be similar to cyber commands established in recent years in other military structures around the world. But in Israel, this is also seen as a potential boost to the economy, as the professional training the unit's soldiers receive will allow them to later move to Israel's high-tech sector. The result could be a boom in Israeli start-ups.

In the global cyber war, the presidents of Russia and North Korea are the enemies. Last summer a senior source in South Korea's cyber apparatus gave Calcalist a rare glimpse into this intricate world of interests. The two Koreas have been engaged in a cyber hostilities for several years now. Hackers affiliated with North Korea attack South Korean companies and civil infrastructure such as airports and governmental ministries. A large offensive two years ago saw banks, ATMs and TV stations in South Korea being attacked.

"Defending against such attacks goes through the usual diplomatic channels," the South Korean source said. "But many times we face situations where we need to rely on a foreign power such as China or Russia. We don't always get the assistance we would like. Often we need to rely on their goodwill and trust them completely."

Fighting the cyber units of North Korean President Kim Jong-un requires sophisticated diplomacy because, as the source explains, the hackers are actually based in China and trained by the Chinese and North Korean hacking units. For Russian President Vladimir Putin, the past year has been particularly turbulent with plummeting oil prices, an economic meltdown and sanctions imposed on Russia after it annexed Crimea. Nevertheless, support for Putin is growing, and Russia is very active in the cyber arena. Russian attacks target the United States, including federal facilities and major corporations, primarily in the finance sector.

Our comment

This is not a new problem. This article is dated 9th October 2015 – showing that the Israelis had decided that cyber war was real – and needed special attention. When you read the following articles, it seems that some Western governments have been caught napping. It also seems that at the moment, hackers can break in to other nations’ computers with impunity – and on a massive scale! This is a game-changer! In the West – our whole infrastructure runs on computers… so much of it is vulnerable! Yet another end time disaster just looking for a place to happen!

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