Feeds

Israel mulls creation of elite counter-cyberterrorist unit

Unit would protect private sector firms and gov agencies

New hybrid storage solutions

Israel is mulling the creation of a counter-cyberterrorism unit designed to safeguard both government agencies and core private sector firms against hacking attacks.

The proposed unit would supplement the efforts of Mossad and other agencies in fighting cyberespionage and denial of service attacks. Israel is, of course, a prime target for hackers from the Muslim world.

The country's hi-tech industries also make it an interesting target for cyberespionage from government-sponsored hackers from China and elsewhere. Spear-phishing attacks featuring targeted emails, custom malware and subsequent hacking action have been in the news over recent weeks, in the wake of cyberattacks against EU agencies and oil-prospecting multinationals, to quote just two recent threats.

Major General Isaac Ben-Israel, former head of the Defence Ministry's administration for the development of weapons and technological infrastructure, the main candidate to lead Israel's cyber-defenders, reportedly met with local and international experts for a brainstorming strategy development session late last year.

A report based on the outcome of the talks involving the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Herzliya-based Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) is due to presented to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sometime in the next few weeks.

Israel is rumoured to have collaborated with the US on the development of Stuxnet, the SCADA-system infecting worm described in some circles as the world's first cyberweapon. Circumstantial evidence for this theory came, in part, from a video from the retirement party of General Gabi Ashkenazi that recently surfaced on the net. The video cited the successful Stuxnet worm attack on Iran's uranium enrichment facility at Natanz as among the successes he had racked up during his tenure as chief of staff of the Israel Defence Forces, Israeli daily Haaretz reports (Google translation from original Hebrew here).

Stuxnet, whoever might have created it, along with recent cyberespionage attacks, have concentrated government minds across the world on the problem of defending against cyberattacks. Some of the scenarios peddled by doom-mongers – cyberattacks using Stuxnet variants to take down power grids or collapse communications infrastructure – are more the stuff of Hollywood than reality. However there is a real threat in there, mainly at this stage from either cyberespionage or denial of service attacks.

In response to these threats, Germany opened a new Cyber Defense Center last week, with a reported roster of 10 staff. The team is tasked with spotting and evaluating internet-based attacks, as well as developing counter-strategies, DeutscheWelle reports.

The UK government last year earmarked £650m over the next four years to tackle cyberthreats, as part of its Strategic Defence and Security Review. Part of this money – £63m – has been allocated to boost the policing of financially motivated cybercrime.

A larger proportion is expected to be allocated towards fighting state-sponsored attacks, with most of this money going towards GCHQ. This is expected to involve an expansion of the role of the Cheltenham-based Cyber Security Operations Centre, a small group established in 2009 and initially focused on gathering intelligence on online threats for use by government agencies. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Enigmail PGP plugin forgets to encrypt mail sent as blind copies
User now 'waiting for the bad guys come and get me with their water-boards'
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.