Cyber. The new word that is changing the world. Could the attack on the twin towers have happened without the internet? And how does this affect the Middle East? The IAF takes a look into the new dimension and determines: We have a say there as well
IAF executives gathered in order to discuss cyberspace. Among other things, they discussed the threats, the dangers and the opportunities that the subject-matter encompasses. The IAF’s vision is to create supremacy and develop capabilities is this new space, and particularly to protect existing systems from cyber threats by cooperating with cyber intelligence and defense divisions in the IDF.
The cyber war is quiet and stealthy. The attackers seldom release information and the defendants are busy with defense, the sophistication level and extent of damage continue to increase and large organizations are realizing that the phenomenon cannot be ignored.
Severe cyber attacks have been occurring since the year 1999. One of the best known ones was the attack in Estonia in the year 2007, in which internet services were disrupted. Since then and until today, technology has continued to develop in the speed of light.
“Protecting our systems is the most important mission of the force”, accentuated Head of the Aerial Formation in the gathering.
More Computer Nets than People
Major General (Res.) Amos Yadlin, who once served as Head of the Intelligence Branch and already then placed the foundation for cyber issues in the intelligence, explained that these days the cyber world is an integral part of the 21st century, and as a result so is terror and the use of cyber for other interests.
From the computer virus that hurt the centrifuge whirs in Iran, the hack into Lockheed Martin computers and until the Saudi Arabian hacker who retrieved Israeli credit information, all these are known in a rink in which every minute someone attempts to attack various information systems. Some of these attacks have effects while some do not, but regardless this is a developing phenomenon.
The world has an enormous capacity for information, and the cyber worlds means that all computers and all systems in the world are linked. As a side note: The world has more computer links than people.
The threat in hurting these systems is not only damage to the systems themselves, but the ability of the system to affect the physical world. For example: There’s a difference between damaging a system of airline ticket purchasing, an incident that would cause damage that stays within the net, and attacking aerial control computers that could cause planes to be grounded.
The efficiency-benefit ratio in such an attack is very attractive. There’s no need to send tanks and planes, it is almost impossible to determine who is behind the attack and it is even not always possible to know if it is a purposeful attack or just a system malfunction.
The Cyber World-a New Military Dimension
The heart of hearts of the cyber world is the need for protection. Every country and organization makes immense efforts in order to protect infrastructures, the military, financial systems and its people’s personal information.
The threat is of course, silencing-the military, the government, crucial systems and the economy.
The cyber world has three domains-system defense, intelligence collection and attack. The main question of the day was, ‘is it possible to determine a winner in this world?’, and the answer-probably not.
The people of the intelligence formation who joined the gathering talked of the cyber dimension as a new military angle. Some of the questions that were asked: Would the leadership revolutions that occurred in the past year in the Middle East have occurred without social networking? Could the 9/11 events have occurred without the cyber world? The intelligence formation estimates that without the net-these events wouldn’t have happened.
So how does the world deal? In China, a cyber formation within the Chinese Military was inducted, and in the U.S there is a cyber command under the Defense Ministry. Europe is also already dealing with the matter. Everyone understands: The phenomenon changes the face of humanity.
“We have to be the firsts in entering the new dimension”
And what about the IAF? Most of the answers cannot be published, but the occupation with the matter is vast and is done through various authorities and layers. Head of the Intelligence Branch said at the event: “The cyber world has a major contribution to the intelligence world, but I can only reveal very little on the matter. The rest you will have to fill out with your imagination. It is a new intelligence language that we’re learning rapidly, but it is only a part of the official intelligence gathering”, he said. Commander of the IAF, Major General Ido Nehoshtan, summarized: “We have to be the firsts in entering the new dimension. The IAF has been a system and computer powerhouse for many years now, and in the emergence of new dimensions the goals of the IAF do not waver. We need to see how the new field will be integrated in the force’s missions”.