The growing specter of cyber warfare has prompted the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to step up its recruit of hackers who will be tasked with securing the country’s digital perimeter.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israeli Army drafted approximately 300 young computer experts in December 2011.
“We are not where we would like to be when it comes to the cyber world and we are working to improve our capabilities,” acknowledged a senior officer. ”[And] these [men and women] are some of the top experts in their field.”
The new recruits are slated to serve in Unit 8200 under the auspices of Military Intelligence, as well as in the C4I (Cyber) Directorate, where they will help defend military, government and civilian networks.
The recently formed Cyber Directorate is run by a colonel who previously commanded Matzov – aka the Center for Encryption and Information Security. Matzov is currently responsible for authoring the codes that secure IDF, Shin Bet (internal Israel Security Agency) and Mossad networks, as well as mainframes in national corporations, such as Israel Electrical, the Mekorot water company and the Bezeq telephone company.
“Terrorist groups understand there is a huge potential for causing harm to countries or entities, damage that could change the [strategic] balance,” an IDF officer recently explained.
“Our job is to prevent this from happening. In contrast to other battle fronts, time and space have no meaning in the cyber realm… For us, cyber defense means retaining the ability to continue operating and to be able to rely on the security and availability of our networks.”