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May 23, 2015 / 5 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘cyber warfare’

ISIS-Linked Cyber Warfare Strikes Malaysia Airlines

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Malaysia Airlines just can’t seem to catch a break. Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) linked cyber terrorists were busy early Monday online attacking the embattled carrier’s website.

The cyber goons claimed to be from the “Lizard Squad,” a group known for previous ‘denial of service’ attacks, and claiming support for ISIS. The same group took credit for the attacks that felled the Sony PlayStation Network and Microsoft Xbox Live network.

The first message to appear on the airline’s site said, “404-Plane Not Found,” and “Hacked by Cyber Caliphate” with a photo of a Malaysia Airbus A380 super jumbo jet.

The browser tab on the website said, “ISIS will prevail.”

Later it was changed to: “Hacked by Lizard Squad – Official Cyber Caliphate.” A photo showed a lizard with a monocle in a tuxedo and top hat smoking a pipe. The browser tab for the website that read, “ISIS will prevail” was gone. Instead, a link to the group’s Twitter account.

It is not clear why Malaysia Airlines was targeted by the group. However, dozens of Malaysian citizens have been recruited by ISIS in recent months. Authorities in the country said last week they detained 120 people suspected of being ISIS sympathizers, or planning to travel to Syria, according to The Guardian.

The Malaysia Airlines carrier has been struggling in the wake of the tragic disappearance of one of its aircraft over southeast Asia, Flight MH370, with 239 people on board in March 2014. Malaysia Airlines flight, MH17 / MAS17, was downed with 298 people on board also later that same year over Ukraine.

Pro-Hamas Hackers Trying to Cripple Israel in Secret Cyber War

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Israeli cyber security forces foiled a major cyber attack by pro-Hamas hackers during Operation Protective Edge, but hackers remain determined to harm essential Israeli infrastructure.

While the Iron Dome system intercepted missiles and IDF robots destroyed terror tunnels, the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) foiled an attack against Israel website over the Internet. Hackers from around the world planned the attack with the help of Iran on Al-Quds Day, an annual event organized by Iranian leaders against Zionism. T

“There was a direct connection between the progression of the fighting and cyber attacks,” according to Col N., the commander of the IDF’s cyber defense division.

“It wasn’t like this in previous operations,” he added. “For the first time, there was an organized cyber defense effort alongside combat operations in the field. This was a new reality.”

The attack’s massive scale came as a surprise to Israeli forces. At the beginning of the operation, security services and Internet providers identified only a few attempts to commit cyber attacks. They defined pro-Palestinian hackers as independent actors whose attacks were neither sophisticated nor coordinated.

But as the operation continued, Israel’s understanding of the threat evolved. Col. N. said it became clear that pro-Palestinian groups played a role in the attack. “Today, they’re organizing much more quickly, and it takes them much less time to carry out powerful strikes,” he explained. “During Operation Protective Edge, we saw attacks on a greater scale and on a more sophisticated level. A significant amount of thought and investment stood behind the attacks we saw.

“I won’t be surprised if, next time, we meet [terrorists] in the cyber dimension.”

Terrorists could steal top-secret security information, gain remote access to armed drones and use them to attack Israel, seize credit-card information, hack into the Tel Aviv stock exchange, and shut down Israel’s electrical grid. For years, global security experts have warned of a massive attack that would paralyze the state and disable the military.

Col. N warned that radical powers such as Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah are intensifying the cyber threat against Israel. “There is a significant amount of development in the cyber field. This is a field that [these groups] are already involved in … and all of these groups share information.”

 

The Future of CyberWarfare

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, at the INSS (Institute for national security studies) in Tel Aviv, the head of the IDF Telecommunications Branch, Maj. Gen. Uzi Moshkovitz, spoke about the current and future states of cyber warfare and cyber defense. What follows is the speech he gave.

Everything is cyber

“When we look at data centers and information systems, they are basically entirely located in the cyber dimension. Everything can be attacked potentially. Everything is cyber.”

“Everything in this cyber dimension is new, dynamic and volatile. I’m going to talk about the defensive side.”

The human advantage

“The most important thing to us is human capital. Everything within the cyber domain relies upon the strength of our personnel. Therefore, we must restructure our education system. The main tools of cyber defense are not the switches, routers, or operating systems, but rather the cyber defenders themselves.”

Cyber warfare vs. air warfare

“Cyber warfare vs. air warfare – this is an inevitable comparison. Let’s look at history of air warfare between 1917 to 1939, right up to the beginning of World War II. During the last two years of WWI, air warfare was pretty much nonexistent. Twenty years later we had the Luftwaffe, the RAF (German and British air forces), which were highly influential factors.”

Moreover, this was almost a hundred ago, when the pace of technological advancement was not as rapid as what we are witnessing today. We can only imagine where the cyber dimension is heading in the coming decades.”

The rise of cyber warfare

“Why is the cyber domain so attractive? It influences everything – intelligence organizations are on a quest for the enemy’s secrets. During the last 35 years, all of our secrets and the enemy’s secrets have been stored inside computers. This makes the use of the cyber attacks obvious.

If we look upon psychological warfare and social media – this is about controlling people by controlling the internet. If we look at the Arab Spring, which erupted 3 years ago, it was solely initiated and propagated through social media. This is how people are controlled nowadays.”

The easy development of cyber warfare

“Let’s say you’re a nation and you develop ballistic capabilities or even intercontinental ballistic missiles. You have to have a very good engineering infrastructure and lots of money. If you’re lucky enough to have resources, it will take you a few years to have this capability.”

“On the hand, look at the cyber domain – if a nation wants to go from number 7 or 8 to number 2 or 3, it’s much easier. They will have almost no dependence on physical matters – they only need the the human capital. The cyber force buildup is very very cheap.

To attack a computer or a computer network that’s a mile away from you or 15,000 miles away from you – it’s basically the same. In the cyber domain, the physical distance between hostile parties has basically no importance, though this is a bit simplistic.”

“Our understanding is rapidly changing. Basic computers now control our water, our energy resources, and our transportation systems. The grid has now much wider and deeper significance than it had a few years ago. Say a stock exchange site goes down once a month – what does it do for the site’s credibility?”

The real threat of cyber warfare: unpredictability

“Yesterday we had an attack [OpIsrael] that we were aware of and able to defend against. This is not what we fear. We fear the attacks we don’t know about. We fear the enemies that have stabilized themselves within our networks of which we are unaware. Now, a party can be under attack and be totally unaware–this is different from classic warfare. Who attacked Georgia and Estonia a couple of years ago? We still do not know.”

IDF Says 170,000 Enemy Missiles Pointed at Israel

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

The head of IDF Intelligence said on Wednesday that enemy countries have 170,000 missiles ready to be fired on Israel, a threat that is worse than the Iranian nuclear program.

The numbers have been known before the sum total was announced by Intelligence Director Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi. It has been reported dozens of times that Hezbollah has anywhere between 60,000 and 100,000 missiles It also is a given that Syria, Hamas and Sinai terrorists have an arsenal in the tens of thousands.

Kochavi, speaking at a security conference in Tel Aviv, also said that cyber warfare is the greatest revolution in warfare since the invention of gunpowder and that Israel.

US Security Expert Warns of Dangers in Israel’s Digital Plan

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The director of a Washington-based security forum warns that Israel’s innovative plan to go digital could compromise its national security.

“There is national security and innovation and you have to find the right balance,” Cyber Security Forum Initiative chief Paul de Souza told Bloomberg News. The government plans to work with Cisco System to make Israel the first total digital country with a fiber-optic network built for Israel Electric Corp.

Cisco CERO John Chambers said last month that his company would secure the network  and make it “the best there is in security on a global basis.” The company also created a technology incubator in Israel for cyber defense startups.

De Souza warned that a failure to build a multi-layered and complex security system would allow criminals or terrorists to “harvest millions of zombies,” referring to computers that are compromised so they can be remotely controlled. “Imagine Israel with millions of zombies that have super capability and can bring down countries,” he said. “Not only can these computers attack Israel itself, but they can at the same time use Israel as a way to attack other countries in the whole false flag thing and put the blame on Israel.”

IDF to Protect Smartphones from Hi-Tech Spies

Monday, April 15th, 2013

The IDF soon will install protective systems onboard its smartphones used by the IDF to protect them against digital Trojan horses and prevent various spyware software using the devices eavesdropping, Israel Defense reported.

The military’s Information Security department has determined there has been a significant rise in risks to the sensitive data found on cell phones of IDF officers who have yet to receive considerable protection.

Viruses take over the cell phones, via SMS messages, and allow hostile entities to know its location, view the contents of the device and even remotely operate its camera.

Cyber Warfare A Serious New Factor In Israel’s Already Complex Battlefield

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

As the frequency of suicide bombings increased in the 1990s, Israelis began to realize that their conflicts had shifted from the conventional battlefield to their streets, buses and cafes.

Now the country – along with the rest of the world – is adapting to a new battlefield, one that defense experts call the “fifth dimension”: computers.

The impact cannot be underestimated, said Dror Mor, CEO of the Sdema Group, an Israeli company that specializes in homeland security protection.

“A big part of the next war, wherever it is in the world, will be cyber warfare to silence infrastructure, electricity, communications, movement of planes and trains.”

Land, air, sea and even space have been battlefronts for decades or centuries, but cyber warfare has gained prominence in the past few years and will continue to advance.

Though some industries have been computerized for more than 50 years, increasingly complex viruses have made computers more vulnerable than ever to cyber attacks.

Several viruses already have figured prominently in the Middle East. In 2010, the Stuxnet virus hit computers in Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities, and observers say it set back the Islamic Republic’s alleged nuclear weapons program by as much as two years.

Three months ago, Iran acknowledged that another virus, allegedly created by Israel and the U.S. and called Flame, had infected its computers. According to the Washington Post, the virus tapped into Iranian computer networks and accessed intelligence.

And earlier this month Gauss, a virus related to Stuxnet, hit personal computers in Lebanon and Israel, enabling the cyber attackers to access financial data and the social network profiles of tens of thousands of people.

“The tech sector has become more open, which is good for business, but when that happens it’s bad for security,” said Avi Weissman, chairman of the Israeli Forum for Information Security.

“States have learned to take advantage of this to create malicious code.”

As Gauss showed, cyber warfare threatens private companies and governments. Transportation systems are especially vulnerable, said Mors.

“Someone can go in the system, confuse the stoplights and create big economic problems,” he said.

A crisis also would ensue, he added, “if you get into the Israeli train system and put two trains on the same track that have no idea that they’re going toward each other.”

As to private companies, vulnerability to cyber attacks means that the actions of ordinary office employees could lead to a breach in a system’s security.

“It’s a cultural change as to how an organization deals with protection. You’re in an organization, you have a laptop and a flash drive. The flash drive you use with your computer and the computer in the office. How do we create a separation between the company network and the outside world?”

Mor noted that the dangers stretch even beyond national defense and safeguarding civilian infrastructure.

“If they stop the creation of cottage cheese, you think there will be a problem here?” he asked rhetorically, referring to a staple of the Israeli diet. “People can’t live without cottage cheese.”

Defense threats, however, especially concern information security experts in Israel, a country where national security issues dominate conversation. In fact, last year Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched the National Cyber Staff, which is charged with improving Israel’s defenses against cyber warfare.

Israel has not fought a full-scale conventional war against another country in nearly four decades, principally fighting terror groups since the 1980s. Still, the biggest cyber threats come from countries, because countries have the necessary manpower to develop and execute a damaging attack, according to Isaac Ben-Israel, a professor of security and diplomacy at Tel Aviv University and former head of military research and development for the Israeli Defense Forces and Defense Ministry.

“Terror groups work with small groups of people, so the likelihood that they’ll attack our system is small,” said Ben-Israel.

Israel also is the birthplace of internationally well-regarded information security companies such as the Sdema Group. But some experts say the country remains unprepared to meet potential cyber threats.

“We’re OK relative to the world, but we are not OK relative to the threats in the region,” Ben- Israel warned.

Weissman of the Israeli Forum for Information Security pointed out that Israeli companies do not invest enough in cyber defenses because the dangers don’t seem as real as those of bombs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/idf/cyber-warfare-a-serious-new-factor-in-israels-already-complex-battlefield/2012/08/29/

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