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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘cyber’

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.”

 

Netanyahu to Address Davos Forum on ‘Israel – Innovation Nation’

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will travel Wednesday to the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, where he will deliver an address under the heading “Israel – Innovation Nation,” with an emphasis on the cyber industry.

He also will attend the IT session, in the presence of Cisco CEO John Chambers, and a cyber session that is expected to draw dozens of corporate managers and senior government officials from countries active in the field.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is due to meet with Yahoo President and CEO Marissa Mayer and with Google Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora and will emphasize Israeli innovation and the technological leadership of the Israeli high-tech industry in order to expand economic cooperation with the two companies.

Google has bought out Israeli firms, most notably Wade, for which it paid more than $1 billion. It also has established an active presence in Israel, including a research and development center.

“Israel is an exception on the Western economic scene,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said Tuesday, “We have succeeded in dealing with the global economic crisis better than almost all Western countries. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to develop new markets and new partners and this is my goal in going to Davos. My intention is to talk with leading global high tech companies, in the cyber and other fields, in order to tell them to come to Israel, invest in Israel and create jobs in 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.”

#OPIsrael Cyberattack: Hackers Mostly #Fail

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

The Hackers group Anonymous on Saturday night tried to make good on their threats and began to knock down a large number of Israeli websites, including government offices – for a few minutes at least. But mostly it’s more bluster than success.

Anonymous, in collaboration with pro-Palestinian cyber-terrorists initiated an attack on government sites and large organizations in Israel as “revenge” for Israel’s role in the Palestinian conflict, but really its about their Antisemitism.

Among other websites, they knocked down for a brief period of time include the Ministry of Defense’s, and the Ministry of Education’s, the Israeli EPA’s, military-industry’s, and the Central Bureau of Statistics’ websites.

They also took down the Israeli Cancer Association’s website and dozens of small Israeli sites. At some of the sites the hackers left pro-Palestinian messages and loud music.

The El Al website was downed as well, and that is one of the few that actually took a long time to go back online.

Access to some websites have slowed down, presumably due to the massive attacks, but they did not collapse.

Most of the sites returned to full activity after several minutes, a couple after several hours.

In fact, many of the sites the hackers are claiming via Twitter, that they’ve taken down, are actually working fine. Israel has been employing a number of tricks that have kept the cyber attacks at bay.

The Anti-Jewish Hacktivists are also publicizing what they claim are login passwords for various sites.

So far it appears that #OpIsrael is more bluster than success.

 

Israel’s security apparatus was prepared to face the cyber attack took place. There is concern among security experts that the attack, which began Saturday night, will encourage hackers and terrorist organizations around the world to join the “Anonymous” efforts, making it difficult for Israel’s security systems to withstand the pressure.

According to instructions given employees in the Defense Ministry and other outfits, work today might be disrupted in various computerized systems, and there may be some cessation of operations, in order to perform evaluations of incoming attacks.

A senior security official said in a closed forum a few days ago, that intelligence has been gathered against hackers and other entities that may participate in the attack. On Sunday there will be an assessments of the attack, to optimize the defenses and minimize the damage that may disrupt the systems’ activities.

 

On the other side of the fence, WhiteHat Israeli hackers have taken down or hacked a number of anti-Israeli sites in retaliation, including the OpIsrael website where they added facts about Israel and had the site play Hatikvah.

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.

New Worm Takes Down Iranian Nuke Plant, Plays Loud AC/DC

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

The website NTG reported that an Iranian nuclear scientist told a colleague in Finland about the newest cyber worm which has paralyzed Iran’s nuclear plants.

The Finish scientist, Mikko H. Hypponen, from Helsinki, the chief security research officer at F-Secure, an anti-virus software company, has quoted an email he received from the Iranian scientist, saying “Our nuclear program has once again been attacked by a new worm, which hit the computer systems in Nataz and Fordo.”

According to the scientist, the worm comes with some unusual side effects: the infected computers started to play at high volume the song Thunderstruck by the band AC/DC, in the middle of the night and without any prior warning.

Hypponen said he had no way of confirming the veracity of the story, but he knows for sure that the email has indeed been sent by a real scientist from the Iranian nuclear program.

Israel Goes Public With Cyberwar Program, Strengthens Nuclear Sub Fleet

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

JERUSALEM – Despite the absence of an attack on Iranian military and nuclear facilities, Israel and the U.S. are engaged in a covert cyberwar campaign against a growing list of Iranian targets. The dual objective is to hamper the Iranian regime’s ability to build an atomic bomb while pressuring them to bow to Western and UN demands to downgrade their enrichment capabilities to less than 10 percent.

For the first time, the White House and the IDF acknowledged that America and Israel have launched independent cyber attacks on enemy nations engaged in creating rogue conventional and unconventional warfare programs. The Obama administration implied last week that a special cyberwarfare unit inside the Pentagon and CIA was responsible for launching the debilitating Stuxnet cyber bomb against Iranian computers, which controlled the centrifuges used in the uranium-making process.

Though Israel has not acknowledged that its expanding IDF cyberwarfare unit was responsible for the sophisticated Flame virus, which invaded computers inside the Iranian defense establishment in order to extract top-secret military information, the IDF said on its website: “The IDF has been engaged in cyber activity in a consistent and relentless manner, thwarting and disrupting enemy projects” that have targeted the IDF and the Israeli government. A high-ranking CIA official told the London Daily Telegraph that the cyberwar campaigns were “a preferable alternative to air strikes.”

Israel’s prowess as a cyberwarfare innovator prompted Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO of Russian-based Kaspersky Labs, which discovered the existence of the Flame virus, to partake in the Second International Conference on Cyber-Security at Tel Aviv University this week.

“The very existence of our conference, and participants such as Kaspersky, is proof that Israel is perceived as a global cyber power,” said Professor Yitzchak Ben-Israel, head of The Yuval Ne’eman Science, Technology & Security Workshop at Tel Aviv University.

Israel’s cyberwarfare command has scored several other successes, including shutting off Syrian antiaircraft radar stations minutes before an Israeli Air Force attack obliterated a suspected Syrian nuclear facility several years ago. An offshoot of the various IDF cyberwarfare programs is the Israeli Air Forces’ Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadrons, which can jam communications and launch missiles deep inside enemy territory – including Iran. Another derivative is the Israeli navy’s mushrooming submarine program, which has the capacity to launch computer-guided cruise missiles, including nuclear-tipped ones, against targets across the Middle East.

Earlier this week, the German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reported that the German government is helping the Israeli navy build these advanced submarines in northern Germany’s Kiel Shipyards. Using advanced German submarine technology and Israeli military innovation, including cyberwarfare, the next generation of Israeli Dolphin submarines contain secret hydraulic systems that enable the virtually undetectable subs to launch their munitions on Iran or other enemy countries.

To date the Israeli navy has ordered three of these advanced submarines, one already completed and undergoing rigorous sea trials in European waters. Once added to Israel’s current submarine fleet, which has three earlier model Dolphin subs, the Israeli navy will possess a second-strike capability should Iran or another adversary decide to launch massive attacks against Israeli civilian and military targets.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israel-goes-public-with-cyberwar-program-strengthens-nuclear-sub-fleet/2012/06/06/

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