Wednesday , 12 June 2024

Israel Builds ‘Cyber Dome’ to Counter Attacks from Iran and Proxies

iranintl – Israel is building a “cyber dome” to counter online threats, in particular those originating from Iran and its proxies, an Israeli official told AFP on Thursday.

While Israel’s Iron Dome defense system has been protecting it from incoming rocket attacks for years, it is now trying to beef up its cyber security by building a system to ward off increasing threats from hackers.

“It is a silent war, one which is not visible,” Aviram Atzaba, the Israeli National Cyber Directorate’s head of international cooperation told AFP.

Since Israel launched its war on Hamas in Gaza, following the militant group’s attack on October 7 last year, the country has experienced a notable surge in cyberattacks from Iran and its allies, Atzaba said.

Since the war began, around 800 major cyber-attacks have reportedly been foiled.

Among the targets were government organizations, military infrastructure, and civil infrastructure; some, including hospitals in the cities of Haifa and Safedsome, could not be stopped.

Without going into details, Atzaba told AFP that for the past two years, the directorate has been attempting to develop a centralized, real-time system that proactively protects all Israeli cyberspace – emphasizing the project’s collaboration with Israel’s allies.

“It takes a network to fight a network,” he said.

According to experts speaking to AFP, Iran’s investment in cyberwarfare was spurred by two pivotal incidents. Firstly, the use of the internet by anti-government protesters to garner support for a post-election uprising in 2009. These protests erupted following the announcement of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory in the presidential election, amid widespread allegations of irregularities.

Iran’s investment in cyberwarfare was also prompted by a cyberattack in 2010 that inflicted physical damage on Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran attributed this attack to Israel and the US.

But, Israel is not the sole target of Iranian cyber attacks, with Iranian hackers belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ (IRGC) hacking US governmental and private organizations.

In April the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on individuals and companies accused of conducting cyber-attacks for the benefit of the IRGC’s Cyber-Electronic Command (IRGC-CEC).

“Iranian malicious cyber actors continue to target US companies and government entities in a coordinated, multi-pronged campaign intended to destabilize our critical infrastructure and cause harm to our citizens,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson in April.

The US Justice Department and FBI also unveiled an indictment in April against Iranian individuals, accusing them of taking part in a coordinated hacking initiative from 2016 through April 2021.

Intelligence agencies in both the US and Canada also warned in February that Iranian state-sponsored hackers might interfere with their respective country’s elections.