Israeli cyber warfare aims to secure internet

By Giulio Meotti

BBC News, Tel Aviv

Daniel Fried says Israel has spent more than $20bn on cyber security Israel is one of the most advanced countries in the world when it comes to tackling cyber threats. For the past few years, the country has focused primarily on keeping the internet free and secure. Cyber security forces are combined under one ministry. The aim is to tackle cyber crime, cyber terror and cyber warfare. But it is not just Israel, experts say, but also the United States that fears that Iran and North Korea are using cyber weapons to threaten and influence countries. ‘Playing with fire’ When Iran started trying to block parts of the web in the summer of 2009, it was at an early stage in its efforts, but much remains unknown about the country’s attempts to directly interfere with websites. In recent months the group calling itself the “Cyber Fighters of Iran” has had a number of high-profile attacks against US government, media and sports organisations. But Israel’s cyber security chief, Daniel Fried, says that Iran and North Korea are not the only countries engaged in cyber warfare. He says that these countries are working in tandem with the likes of China and Russia, who may be less keen to interfere with internet-connected world wide web. Mr Fried believes the internet, however, is a target of interest to hackers, but he believes it is the governments and the military and the intelligence services that are the main threat. “We know what is going on with Iran and North Korea, we know how they are writing codes and launching attacks. We know who is doing it and we know how to stop it,” he says. “We know who our enemy is and we know how to stop them. “So we know who is attacking us and we are preparing to counter it, and this is what we are doing.” In Mr Fried’s estimation, the successful application of cyber technology and high-tech will make Israel much more resilient in a cyber conflict, than it would have been had they not invested so much in new technology. “We have more than 5,000 people working on cyber security and we have spent about $20bn [pounds] over the past three years on this technology,” he says. “Cyber security is starting to become a big deal everywhere, like at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations and in NATO. It is one of the things where the world is focused on.”

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