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Smadar Shir Photo: Avigail Uzi
Smadar Shir Photo: Avigail Uzi
Hackers are the new terrorists? Photo: Shutterstock
Hackers are the new terrorists? Photo: Shutterstock

Welcome to cyber war

Op-ed: Cyber attacks no different than missile strikes and should be addressed similarly

Smadar Shir
Published: 01.08.12, 20:26 / Israel Opinion

We were so naïve to view hackers in the past as technological whizzes who use the computer creatively and reinvent the wheel. In the United States, they predicted this horror 50 years ago already.


Today we must update our lexicon: A hacker is not merely a mischievous genius or a computer whiz. Only one definition fits a hacker like the Saudi who published the credit information of thousands of Israelis – a terrorist.

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The fact that his hands were not tainted by blood does not make him a less dangerous or less violent criminal who has one objective in mind – producing harm and damage.


This is the face of the new terrorist: Clean, elegant, relaxed, sophisticated and a little arrogant (“You won’t catch me, this is only the beginning.”) Regrettably, we cannot say that he is being haughty for no reason. With the press of a button, he realized his dream – undermining the simple folk, large bodies and huge infrastructure, while disrupting the normal flow of life.


Are there still people out there who would laud and cheer such person on?


Speak less, do more

A technological attack is no different than a missile strike. Leaking credit card information is no different than leaking radioactive materials. The difference has to do with the response.


Nature makes sure to prove to us time and again – through storms, floods and earthquakes – how small and lowly we are compared to it. Indeed, we stand helpless in the face of the ruins. On the other hand, a hacker is not a force of nature that cannot be stopped.


A hacker is a human being, just like us, and if we unite in the war against him we may be able to stop him before it’s too late. Because today it’s our credit cards, tomorrow it will be our Israeli ID numbers and other personal details, and the day after it could get even worse.


Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was right to speak of a “declaration of war.” Hence, we must change our modus operandi – we must speak less and do more.



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