Officials: Military networks protected from cyber attacks (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 05/30/12)
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Senior defense officials expressed confidence that Israel’s military
networks were secure and protected from cyber attacks, as Strategic
Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon hinted on Tuesday that Israel might
have been behind the latest computer virus to attack Iran.
Ya’alon fueled speculation of Israeli involvement in the cyber attack
when he told Army Radio on Tuesday that “whoever sees the Iranian
threat as a serious threat would be likely to take different steps,
including these, in order to hurt them.”
Ya’alon went a step further and discussed Israel’s technological
“Israel is blessed to be a nation possessing superior technology.
These achievements of ours open up all kinds of possibilities for
us,” he said.
Evidence suggests that the virus, dubbed “Flame,” may have been
developed on behalf of the same nation or nations that commissioned
the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran’s nuclear program in 2010,
according to Kaspersky Lab, the Russian cyber security software group
that took credit for discovering the viruses.
Israel has been widely accused of developing Stuxnet, possibly
together with the US.
Military Intelligence’s Unit 8200 is responsible within Israel for
offensive cyber attacks and the Mossad is also presumed to have some
independent capabilities of its own.
While Israel is one of the prime suspects with regard to Flame, other
countries would also have an interest in such technology, which
officials admitted was an advanced “espionage tool.”
Flame effectively turns every computer it infects into the ultimate
spy. It can turn on microphones to record conversations taking place
near computers, take screenshots, log instant messaging chats, gather
data files and remotely change settings on computers.
Later on Tuesday Ya’alon backtracked and issued a statement saying
that “plenty of advanced Western countries with apparent cyber-
warfare capabilities view Iran and especially its nuclear program as
a real threat.” He added that Israel was making significant
investments in preventing cyber attacks.
A top defense official involved in shielding military networks from
attacks told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that while there was no
such thing as a hermetic defense, Israel had created effective
systems to prevent cyber attacks.
“Our defenses are good and are far more advanced than those that
exist in the civilian world,” the official said. “All of our systems
are hardened and protected with encryption and various other layers.”
Last year the IDF established a Cyber Defense Division in the C4I
Directorate, which is responsible for protecting army networks from
hackers and infiltrators.
Due to the presumed increase in the cyber threat to Israel – a few
months ago, the Post reported on an ambitious Iranian plan to invest
$1 billion on cyber warfare – the IDF recently approved a multi-year
program to beef up cyber defenses, including the expansion of
personnel as well as new technological capabilities.
Reuters contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
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