Information Warfare: Who Shall Guard Israeli Cyber Space


September 20, 2010: There is a war going on in Israel, between Shin Bet (the internal security and intelligence agency) and the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces.) The object of this dispute is who shall control Cyber War activities. The problem arises from the fact that the IDF has developed most of the offensive and defensive Cyber War tools. This has led to Israel being a disproportionate source of network security software and hardware, most of which is sold outside of Israel. Shin Bet, however, is, by law, in charge of internal security. However, Shin Bet is playing catch-up, because the IDF is now the leading practitioner of cyber security and wants more control over Cyber War operations. Many of the Israeli computer security firms were founded by IDF veterans. The IDF has also developed a good sense of how to use these Cyber War tools. While Shin Bet is also an intelligence agency, the IDF has taken the lead in collecting Cyber War secrets around the world.

So now there's a showdown, as the IDF and Shin Bet seek to get primary authority for Cyber War activities from the government. To further complicate matters, the IDF is proposing more offensive Cyber War operations when Israeli networks and computers are attacked. This makes politicians nervous, because of the potential for diplomatic, or military, blowback. The IDF has already demonstrated their skills in this area, hacking into military and civilian systems in Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and other areas.

Meanwhile, the IDF is continuing to build up its Cyber War capabilities. The latest development is using the same screening and recruiting techniques they employ for commando units, to form an elite Cyber War unit. Thus the Israelis are not just seeking men (or women) with the right technical skills, but also with the mental toughness characteristic of the regular commandos. Israel wants to use this Cyber War unit to deal with the most difficult, and dangerous Cyber War situations. Thus if there's a Cyber War attack, using an unknown, and seemingly devastating new technique, you would have the Cyber War commando unit available to send against the problem. Same with an enemy Cyber War target that has to be disrupted, or simply investigated. You have a unit to do the job, because this unit has already been recruited and trained to be the best of the best. Similarly, if you were sending in regular commandos on a raid, to steal technology (something Israel has already done several times), several of the Cyber War commandos would go along. Already known to be tough minded, but possessing high technical skills, the Cyber War guys could keep up with the regular commandos, and quickly sort out the enemy technology, and take, or destroy, the right items. The new unit is actually part of military intelligence, and will seek recruits in the military as well as civilians.






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