One step ahead

Israel is no slouch at cyberwarfare. The Jewish state has been under incessant attack from its inception and has had to grapple with myriad enemies.

Throughout the years, the challenges have changed. If during the first decades of the state the challenges were conventional, this has gradually changed. When our enemies realized they could not defeat us on the battlefield, they switched tactics to terrorism. And when terrorism did not work they started to employ the more technology-based methods known as cyberwarfare.

Be the first to know – Join our Facebook page.

In the fight to survive, Israel has been forced to adapt and evolve.

Israeli society is built around the need to remain ahead of its enemies, and human resources are Israel’s most powerful weapon. Universal conscription means nearly every high school student is evaluated by the IDF. Those with the most outstanding intellectual, psychological and physical traits are hand-picked and trained. The IDF is a breeding ground for cultivating the abilities of the best and brightest to help Israel to stay one or more steps ahead of its enemies. This is the open secret of Israel’s phenomenal success in the field of hi-tech in general and in cyberwarfare in particular.

But last week former Mossad director Tamir Pardo dropped a bombshell. He warned that the Jewish state is not adequately prepared for the constantly changing challenges presented by cyberwarfare.

During a smart cities conference in Tel Aviv, Pardo acknowledged that Israel was making efforts to keep up with the developments in cyberwarfare. But he said Israel’s readiness remains “woefully inadequate,” reported Max Schindler, The Jerusalem Post’s business correspondent.

Pardo likened the destructive power of cyberwarfare to the nuclear bomb. Both can damage whole societies, destroy states and win a war without firing any bullets.

We would add that cyberwarfare is in many ways even more pernicious. Unlike a nuclear bomb, a cyberattack can be carried out without the victim knowing who is attacking. Very aggressive actions can be taken while the attacker, at least initially, retains deniability.

Internet access, cellular phone networks – even electrical grids – can be disabled for long periods, rendering a modern society unable to function.

Stuxnet, a malicious computer worm, provides a good example of the capabilities of cyberwarfare. The worm attacked programmable logic controllers, which automate machinery, factory assembly lines – and centrifuges used to make nuclear bombs.

According to foreign reports, Israel, working with the US, used Stuxnet in 2010 to compromise Iran’s nuclear weapons production by causing fast-spinning centrifuges to spin so fast they tore themselves apart. It is estimated that one-fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges were destroyed in this way.

Russia’s cyberattack on the American electoral system before the 2016 elections included invasion of voter databases and software systems in 39 US states.

And just last week both the US and the UK accused Russia’s military of being responsible for the “NotPetya” cyberattack last year that crippled parts of Ukraine’s infrastructure and damaged computers in countries across the globe.

Pardo predicted that if Israel, a country constantly under various forms of cyberattacks, were to have its defenses penetrated, pandemonium would break out. Ministries would point fingers at each other and the people would take to the streets.

Pardo said it is not beyond the realm of possibility for a cyberattack to cripple the Israeli economy.

Some of the steps that Israel has made to stay ahead of the game include Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s creation in 2010 of the National Cyber Initiative task force, which, under the leadership of Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, has created an “ecosystem” or constantly evolving framework for collaboration by the government, the IDF, businesses and universities.

Israel should also continue to cultivate IDF units such as Military Intelligence’s 8200, which is a veritable incubator and accelerator of Israel’s start-ups, particularly in the field of cybersecurity.

Since its inception, the State of Israel has learned to transform the disadvantage of being widely hated and attacked into an advantage. The battleground – whether real or virtual – is an ideal real-life testing ground for innovation.

There is, of course, the added incentive that failure could mean destruction.


German shipyard starts work on state-of-the-art warships for Israel

Construction of Israel’s four newest warships that will be used to defend the country’s natural gas fields and territorial waters has begun in Germany.

“The Sa’ar-6 ships are one of the main pillars in the naval defensive wall that the IDF has,” said V.-Adm. Eli Sharvit, commander of the Israel Navy.

Be the first to know – Join our Facebook page.

“In recent year the importance of maritime supremacy has been reinforced with the understanding that it constitutes a pillar of the security of the State of Israel,” he said.

The first of the Sa’ar-6 class corvettes, which are being built in the German port of Kiel, is set to arrive in November 2019, with the final one arriving in February 2021. All four are expected be fully operational by the following year.

The four-vessel squadron with be led by an officer with the rank of commander.

In addition to interception missile defense systems such as the naval Iron Dome and the Barak-8 long-range surface-to-air missile naval defense system, each state-of-art ship will be outfitted with precise offensive missiles as well as cyber and electronic warfare systems that will be installed once in Israel.

The 90-meter-long ships will carry crews of 70 sailors who will be assisted by unmanned aerial vehicles and naval helicopters. They will have a maximum speed of 24 knots (44.5 kph) with a range of 2,500 nautical miles (4,630 km.).

“The bread and butter of the Sa’ar-6 are its defense and offensive capabilities,” said senior naval officer. “I wish we could have this ship on our waters, right now.”

More than 90% of Israel’s imports arrive by sea, and while the navy is small compared to other IDF service arms, it has to protect some 44,000 of sea, almost double the size of Israel.

The new ships will be used to defend Israel’s natural gas drilling rigs, which supply around 60% (and soon 75%) of the nation’s electricity.

According to the senior naval officer, one missile boat patrols Israel’s territorial waters, but during time of war, the navy will place one ship near each rig, which are clear targets for Hezbollah.

“We believe that Hezbollah has the ability to strike any spot in our waters,” the officer said, explaining that while the Lebanese group does not have any naval capability, it is believed to have long-range missiles, including precision ballistic missiles received from Iran, which can hit the rigs and ships inside Israel’s exclusive economic zone.

“Hezbollah radiates naval power even without having any ships or submarines,” he said. “The Iranian presence is a game-changer.”

Tensions with Lebanon have risen in recent days, and on Tuesday, Hezbollah published flyers and released a short video threatening the Jewish state over Lebanon’s plans to explore for offshore oil and gas in the Block-9 field that is disputed waters.

“Whoever harms gas and oil sites in Lebanese economic waters, their own sites will be harmed, and they know Lebanon is fully capable of doing so,” read one flyer posted on social media.

In an interview with Ynet news, National Infrastructure Water and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that Israel hopes to settle the dispute diplomatically but is ready to defend its territorial waters.

Hezbollah, he said, “should not threaten, and definitely not invade, our territorial waters. If they attack us, our response will be fast and more devastating than in the past. Israel is the strongest nation in the region and we will defend our sea territory and the gas drilling rigs.”


  • No Related Posts

Israel preparing for Hezbollah maritime threat on gas rigs with German ships

The military does not necessarily believe that a war in the north is imminent, but the Navy must prepare to cope with Hezbollah’s weapons arsenal that can pose a danger to the Israeli gas drilling rigs in the Mediterranean Sea and may potentially shut down the Israeli economy.

German shipbuilders have recently begun work on four defense ships that Israel is purchasing to defend the gas fields and its territorial waters. Almost three quarters of the electricity produced in Israel relies on those gas fields.

The first ship will arrive at the beginning of 2020, but outfitting it with weapons and tactical systems will take another year and a half.


Navy missile defense system


שליחה לחבר

הסרטון נשלח לחברך


הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך

קוד להטמעה: