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Israel: Cyber War with Iran is Unparalleled


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Israel: Cyber War with Iran is Unparalleled

Tuesday, 27 September, 2022 - 08:00
A broken Ethernet cable is seen in front of binary code, and the words "cyber security" (Reuters)

Israeli defense and cyber intelligence unit commanders announced that the conflict with Iran has no parallel in the cyber-realm.

They explained that since its outbreak in 2013, this war has become increasingly complex, noting that Israel is the strongest party, but the enemy must never be underestimated.

Colonel Uri Stav, deputy head of the 8200's offensive unit, and Colonel Omer Grossman, Vice President of the same brigade for defense affairs, said Iran's offensive capabilities are also improving.

Iran is also activating several of its arms and militias, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, and it mobilizes support in this field for the Islamic Jihad and Hamas organizations in Palestine.

Stav said: "One of the challenges is that Iran supports organizations that are on our borders but are physically distant from us. When it comes to cyberwarfare, distance doesn't exist."

He explained that Iran managed to sabotage the water system in Israel, disrupting it for several hours, and even tried to poison the water, but Israel responded to the attack.

But Stav adds that the level of its performance is still very far from the Israeli level.

For his part, Grossman admitted that the enemy must never be underestimated, as a rule.

"But I can say with full confidence that the abilities on our side are infinitely higher. This is not the same league at all, not even the same sport. To date, there has been no functional damage to our systems due to attacks by Iran."

The threat, he estimates, will increase in the coming years.

Unit 8200, which was initially made of five people, including a secretary and a driver, has become the most significant military brigade and includes among its ranks soldiers and officers more employees and agents in the Mossad and the Shin Bet combined.

It cooperates with its US counterpart, the "National Security Agency" (NSA).

The two cyber units in the Israeli army were established as an emergency cell 11 years ago and detected in 2014, the first Iranian major cyber war attack during the "Protective Edge" war on Gaza.

The Iranian-backed attack, executed by the "Syrian Electronic Army" at the time, managed to hack the Twitter account of the Israeli army's English spokesperson.

The hackers warned of a possible nuclear leakage in the region after two missiles hit the Dimona nuclear reactor, but Israel repaired the damage within a few minutes.

Some reports were published about this cyber war but did not receive the importance they deserved at that time. However, experts have conducted several types of research on the subject.

Director of the cybersecurity program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Colonel Gabi Siboni, said there is an excellent possibility that this Iranian cyber advance in the Protective Edge would mark the beginning of cyber warfare, which will replace classic terrorism as a central tool in Iran war with Israel.

Siboni warned that the threat is that cyber-attacks against Israel will be able to strike the domestic front, adding that Iran is rapidly and subtly close to "bridging the gap" in cyber technology with Israel.

"We should not be naive," said the commander of the cyber unit.

The Iranian axis is constantly looking for loopholes in the armor of the Israeli army and the cyber field.

He warned that in the coming wars, cyber capabilities would be more critical than in previous wars, asserting Israel's readiness to repel and respond more than ever.

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