The IDF has been preparing for cyber threats, and according to a senior officer in the Communications and Defense Division, "The paralyzing of social networks in Israel for a few hours by Hezbollah, for example, would be more severe in its effect than a Hezbollah missile attack."
Over the last two months, the IDF has been preparing for cyber threats of the kind that hit over the weekend, as well as other threats that are constantly emerging.
The officer said in a press briefing at the IDF headquarters that the malware that caused damage over the weekend in British hospitals and hit many countries had already attacked at the end of the past year. "The attack on the weekend was similar to the December attack on social networks in North America.
"The security level of old computer systems in the UK is lower than updated systems and therefore, they were damaged. We are constantly updating our systems," explained the officer.
He said the attack on the weekend was "a wide-scale attack that touches multiple locations by sending and opening emails with a link in them … There will be many other such attacks, some of which will be synchronized between hackers on a particular day."
"The IDF's defense systems are better than civilian ones," he said. "Attack attempts are always there, we prepared in advance. No hostile element ever penetrated the IDF's operational network." According to him, the IDF is always actively seeking new malware being developed around the world and prepare accordingly.
Cyber threats led to the addition of hundreds of specialized soldiers (about 30 percent) compared to last year. This is due to threats from hostile elements such as Hezbollah, Iran and others. "You have to work proactively, initiate… Routine is the enemy in cyber warfare as well."
The officer also noted that various bodies dealing in cyber warfare, including the communications unit, Military Intelligence, the Shin Bet, the Mossad, and the National Cyber Service, are working together in cyberspace, while using the relative advantage of each party.
(Translated and edited by N. Elias)