Source: Arutz Sheva – by Joe Tuzara, M.D. (Israel’s Cyber ‘War Between Wars’)
While no longer held a secret, Israel’s cyber “war between wars” has been going on quietly for as long as ten years.
President Barack Obama’s Iranian folly has now opened a ‘Pandora box’ of global chaos, violence and destruction that is both alarming and unsettling. Not content with wreaking havoc, inflaming Sunni-Shiite divide; Obama’s aiding and abetting enemies at the expense of Israel and Sunni Arab allies, notably Saudi Arabia have irreparably damage US credibility.
When every ally can become collateral damage, Obama’s unprecedented deception speak volumes about his betrayal. Given Obama’s radical ideological antipathy towards Israel, an Islamist regime sitting on the verge of a threshold nuclear weapon irrevocably alters the existing geopolitical and strategic landscape in the volatile Middle East.
While no longer held a secret, Israel’s cyber “war between wars” has been going on quietly for as long as ten years. And although you might discern this a shadow fight in the digital homeland, the next security arms race is shifting gears when Israel decide to unleash crippling cyber attack utilizing the most frightening new generation of offensive cyber weapons that might put Iran in the dark for a very long time.
In the absence of full-on conflagration, Air force commander Major-General Amir Eshel said the Israeli military was now busy waging a “campaign between wars to deal with the dangers before they form.” Amidst imminent proxy wars and growing uncertainty over the highly controversial Iran deal, Israel is preparing for a new battle in the shadows of cyberspace.
Over the years, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has made “dramatic” advancements in its offensive cyber capabilities. As a result of the military’s efforts, Israel —has turned itself into a top-four offensive cyber power in the world, according to the chief cyber-security officer at the security research firm Trend Micro.
Israel is also believed to have some of the most advanced cyber warfare capabilities of any country on earth, to the point where the National Security Agency (NSA) reportedly considered Israel to be a potential electronic warfare proliferator.
Cyber takes center stage in Israel’s war strategy, with a new military intelligence unit set up to incorporate high-tech hacking tactics. According to security sources, the military intelligence branch, which specializes in wiretaps, satellite imaging and other electronic espionage, has set up a dedicated cyber warfare unit staffed by conscripts, and officers would not say how much of the unit’s work is offensive.
Israel’s military is one of the most advanced and active cyber army that is using cyber-warfare to attack its enemy in the cyber space. For years the IDF Operations Department is the real core of IDF cyber warfare, giving the guidelines for the definition of cyber operations against the enemy of Israel.
As cyber attacks have become much more sophisticated, the unseen cold ‘war on cyber’ has evolve from espionage attacks escalating into the unchartered territory of disruptive or destructive counterattacks.
One of the most effective acts of geopolitical cyber war in modern history was launched by Israel at the Iranian nuclear program. In 2010 the computer bug Stuxnet, which is believed to have been an Israeli creation with US support, caused Iranian centrifuges to malfunction and slowed down the growth of Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity. Stuxnet represents a good example of the destructive power of cyber weapon used against critical infrastructure of a country.
In the case of Stuxnet, Flame and Duqu cyber attacks, those offensive maneuvers engendered an escalating pattern of offensive cyber response. The Islamist regime may also have been behind the Shamoon virus that wiped 30,000 hard drives and took computer networks offline for weeks at Saudi Aramco. Iran also accuses the United States and Israel of the cyber attacks that took Iran’s Oil Ministry and a major oil terminal offline.
In January 2012, massive attacks against The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and El Al Israel Airlines have blocked the operations leaving their websites down. For these reasons, the rising cyber activities of Israel and Iran is creating an arms race for the Internet age — an “escalating cold war of cyber.”
The Israeli ClearSky cyber security company said it has discovered an ongoing wave of cyber attacks originating from Iran on targets in Israel and the Middle East. Reportedly, a barrage of cyber attacks targeted Israel’s electrical and communications networks. Although the cyber campaign was unsuccessful, Israeli officials said it was unprecedented in its scale and severity.
Iran’s Fars New reported, the Saudi spy agency Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah and Mossad have started a joint collaboration for the development of a new cyber weapon worse than Stuxnet with the “intent to spy on and destroy the software structure of Iran’s nuclear program.“
Cyber intelligence analysts say that Israel is rapidly building an elite team of cyber warriors to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Israel has also infiltrated Iran’s infrastructure with dormant “disruptive capabilities” that could be activated at any time.
Israel’s recruitment of online warriors starts early, with students put onto cyber tracks starting in grade school until being selected for the cyber teams, especially Unit 8200– the headquarters of Israeli signals intelligence.
Unit 8200 was not known to the outside world, until articles were published in French newspaper newspaper Le Monde diplomatique in 2010. Israel’s spy facility at Urim in the Negev desert is one of the largest and most powerful intelligence gathering sites in the world, that is capable of monitoring communications, throughout the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as tracking ships.
As such, an intelligence specialist say, it is “akin to the top secret UK-USA pact’s Echelon satellite intercept ground stations” around the world set up in 1996 by the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
But beneath all the stunning hypocrisy and delusional threats by US Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel could face ‘isolation’ if Congress reject a nuclear deal, it remains unclear what the impertinent Obama administration might play in Israel’s inevitable cyber campaign against Iran.
According to Israeli software companies, Israel’s expertise with cyber weapons is very high supported by a strong government commitment that has created a pool of army-trained hacking talent. The awareness on theefficiency of a cyber attack is shared in the high level of the Israeli government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed Israel’s commitment “to being one of the three leading cyber powers of the world.”
The bottom line is quite simple: the prime minister’s statement about “an era that we’re entering into where entire societies can be paralyzed by cyber attack,” is a veiled warning that no matter what the cost, Israel’s offensive cyber weapons offer it “a stealthy alternative to the preemptive air strikes” that it has long been expected to launch against Iran, but which would face enormous operational hurdles because the Obama administration continues to undermine Israel’s military capacity to defend itself.
Joe Tuzara, M.D. The writer was clinical research-physician-general surgeon for Saudi Arabian, Philippine and American healthcare systems and is currently an American freelance writer as well as op-ed contributor.