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IDF provides rare glimpse into its highly-classified cyber ops

Israel revealed that its military has developed “groundbreaking defense abilities” to thwart enemy attacks, topped by Iran

Photo: IDF
Photo: IDF

“In the past year alone, the IDF has thwarted dozens of attempted Iranian cyberattacks. The friction between Israel and its enemies has intensified.” This, according to an unnamed IDF official, who held a press briefing yesterday (Wednesday).

The source added that “The IDF and the defense community have developed groundbreaking defense abilities.”

Iran has over 20 operational cyber units, out of which approximately ten are concentrated on battling Israel, said the official. “Tehran has placed Israel as a top cyber priority, and is investing massive resources in developing offensive cyber capabilities for various purposes.”

A brief published on the IDF website adds, that one of Iran’s main goals is social and psychological engineering and an attempt to terrify the public. This is why it tries to attack civilian targets, which do not necessarily hold operational value and do not cause real harm to the IDF or the state.

An example which comes to mind is the Iran-linked breach of the servers which hosted, among other sites, the popular Israeli LQBTQ website Atraf – which has still not resumed activity.

Other recent Iran-linked cyberattacks against Israel have included an attempt to breach its main water system and government websites, social media espionage campaigns, an attack on the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center and numerous others. The Israel National Cyber Directorate announced in June that it would be promoting a national “cyber dome” to protect the country.

In 2017, the IDF established a classified cyber defense division. According to the IDF, this division “enables the existence of land, sea and air operational activities, and provides the IDF with superiority in the cyber dimension. It operates diverse technological means, which enable Israel to be in the global forefront of cyber defense.”

The IDF also reveals that last year, during operation “Guardian of the Walls” between Israel and Palestinian terror organization Hamas, the division fulfilled a world first multi-dimensional, kinetic and cyber operation, which included thwarting many of Hamas’ cyber asset, thereby harming its ability to plan and execute cyberattacks against Israel.

Operation “Breaking Dawn” against the Islamic Jihad in Gaza earlier this summer saw the launching of the IDF’s new cyber system, “Maestro” – a state-of-the-art tool to develop attack days, which synchronizes all of the IDF’s attack units.

“The success of the system and its contribution to its operational users emphasize the value of technology as a factor that influences and molds combat,” said major B., one of the system’s developers.

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