To combat this new virtual frontier, the IDF made history on Tuesday by graduating its first class of ‘Cyber Defenders’. Just one year prior, the IDF General Staff established a Cyber Defense Division in the C4I Directorate, which is responsible for protecting IDF networks from hackers and infiltrations.
“This is a growing threat that we need to be prepared for,” a senior IDF officer from the C4I Directorate explained earlier this week. Hacking and infiltrating high-profile companies and military networks has become a way for small-time hackers to make their mark in hacker history.
This was apparent in early 2012 when a Saudi-Arabian hacker known as 0xOmar was successful in hacking three major Israeli credit card companies. He claims to have acquired accounts for 400,000 while the companies retorted that it was actually closer to 15,000.
To maintain Israel’s cyber security, the IDF instituted a multiyear program to beef up cyber defenses including the expansion of personnel and development of new technological capabilities. The IDF has even coordinated a new task force comprised of the C4I Directorate and IDF Military Intelligence’s Unit 8200, tasked with establishing offensive capabilities and operations.
“Our job is to understand the network, live and breathe it and as quickly as possible detect something suspicious,” one of the graduates, who could only be identified as U. explained.