By: Aryeh Savir
Attacks on Israel “will be answered accordingly,” said Maj. Gen. Tamir Heyman, Director of the IDF’s Military Intelligence, saying that cyber-attacks should be treated just as any other in the real world.
Speaking on Tuesday at the 2021 Cyber Week at Tel Aviv University, Heyman said that as part of the recent Operation Guardian of the Walls in Gaza against Hamas, “information gathered from a variety of sources – including cyber realm, was fused together through advanced processing capabilities, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning into operational outputs. This allowed the IDF to function better, faster, and with fewer casualties.”
The IDF was able to collect accurate and real-team intelligence on the whereabouts of senior Hamas commanders, killing several of them in remarkable operations.
Touching on the daily cyber threats Israel faces, Heyman said that “Israel is under constant threat in the cyber dimension, and attacks are sometimes carried out against it. We are able to deal with most of the threats through advanced defense capabilities.”
Israel has an advanced cyber-security apparatus and fends off thousands of cyber-attacks on a daily basis.
“As with other dimensions of combat, defense alone is not enough. Additional steps must be taken to preserve Israel’s supremacy over our enemies,” he stated, warning that “those who attack Israel by air, sea, land or cyber need to understand the risk they are taking. As they see time and time again, the attacks will be answered accordingly.”
Minister of Defense Benny Gantz conveyed a similar message at the event, saying that “in recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of attacks carried out by hostile elements, including Iran and its affiliates, seeking to access the IT systems of Israel’s national infrastructure.”
“In the face of this increase – from a few single attacks to dozens of attacks a year – Israel has demonstrated the ability to develop its resilience, its technological advantage and its qualitative advantage in the region,” he said. “Israel works continuously to protect against cyber-attacks.”
He said that during Operation Guardian of the Walls, the IDF hit the head of Hamas’ cyber command, Jum’a Tahla. The IDF also identified and damaged several cyber-attackers, equipment and infrastructure that served Hamas’ cyber command.
“Our message is clear – be it a rocket or a keyboard – we will not tolerate a threat to the citizens of Israel,” he declared.
The Washington Post reported in May that Israel was behind the May 9 cyber-attack on Iran’s Shahid Rajaee port in Bandar Abbas, the largest in the country, which brought the shipping traffic to an abrupt and inexplicable halt for days, generating backups for miles.