Feeds

Hezbollah cracks Israeli radio code

Hopping mad

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Hezbollah fighters reportedly used Iranian-supplied technology to tap Israeli radio comms during last month's war in southern Lebanon. The intelligence gleaned from these intercepts helped frustrate Israeli tank attacks, according to Hezbollah and Lebanese officials.

Military radio transmissions typically use frequency-hopping - switching between dozens of transmission frequencies per second as a means to frustrate jamming and interception - and encryption.

But troops in combat might sometimes make mistakes in following secure radio procedures, creating a possible means for Hezbollah eavesdropping teams to snatch valuable snippets of intelligence using kit capable of monitoring changing radio frequencies (if not capable of breaking scrambling codes).

Claims that Hezbollah fighters were able to use this intelligence to get some intelligence on troop movement and supply routes are plausible, at least to the layman, but ought to be treated with an appropriate degree of caution as they are substantially corroborated by anonymous sources.

"We were able to monitor Israeli communications, and we used this information to adjust our planning," a Hezbollah commander told Newsday.

Although Hezbollah was unable to intercept Israeli communications at will, it did gain intelligence that allowed it to co-ordinate counter-offensives against Israeli attacks.

The Israeli military cited security concerns in declining to address the question of whether its radio communications were compromised. However, a former Israeli general told Newsday that Hezbollah's signal intelligence capabilities seriously blunt the Israeli offensive. "Israel's military leaders clearly underestimated the enemy and this is just one example," he said.

The month long conflict ended with a UN brokered cease fire on 14 August. Hezbollah surprised its opponents by using new weaponry and battlefield tactics during the conflict, according to Newsday.

"The Israelis did not realise that they were facing a guerrilla force with the capabilities of a regular army," a senior Lebanese security official told the magazine. "Hezbollah invested a lot of resources into eavesdropping and signals interception."

Hezbollah (whose ranks include a number of individuals fluent in Hebrew) also monitored cell phone transmissions during the conflict, a far less technically onerous task, though still far from trivial, according to the Lebanese government source. Troops are trained not to divulge sensitive information during mobile phone calls.

These particular claims are substantiated by reports of a raid by Israeli special forces on a Hezbollah office during the conflict which uncovered a cache of jamming and eavesdropping equipment, along with maps of Northern Israel and the mobile phone numbers of Israeli commanders. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.