Israel’s New Secret Weapon: Unit 8200 – Computer Geeks!

May 12, 2011 No Comments by

Television news delights in spectacular visual on-the-spot drama. Camera crews race to the scary scene to capture the colorful and vivid shots. They then compete to bring those headline hunting, award-winning events to the small screen, ‘exclusively from this or that channel.’

But the most dangerously devastating impacts to come in the mounting Middle East tensions may be a spindly computer geek rather than a Rambo.

Israel’s internal security chief Yuval Diskin has openly discussed growing exchanges in high-stake cyberattacks. While Diskin said Israel is now a world leader in cyber warfare, he agreed the tiny nation has thwarted recent attacks.

“It was not clear why Yadlin, who headed one of the most secretive branches of Israel’s military, would lift the veil on such a sensitive issue,” said one reporter.

It is suspected that Israel has the ability to paralyze infrastructure including electricity grids, water, transportation, financial systems and military command networks.

Iran believes Israel was responsible for the Stuxnet virus that attacked its high-value sites.

“Computer experts generally agreed the mysterious Stuxnet virus — one of the most sophisticated malware systems ever detected — could only have been put together by the intelligence service of a state or combination of states,” according to Your World at War. (www.spacewar.com)

Israel’s Military Intelligence recently established a special division of its super-secret signal intelligence and code-breaking group, Unit 8200, to take responsibility for all cyberwar capabilities.

These are believed to be among the most advanced in the world. In 2008 Technolytics Institute, a private U.S. consultancy, rated Israel the sixth-biggest “cyberwar threat” after China, Russia, Iran, France and “extremist/terrorist groups.”

These developments have put the spotlight on Unit 8200, which in military publications is known as the Central Collection Unit of the army’s Intelligence Corps.

For all the secrecy that shrouds it, Unit 8200 is one of the largest units in the military, with several thousand personnel.

It is commanded by a brigadier general whose identity is classified. The unit’s functions are comparable to those of the U.S. National Security Agency or Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters.

“Cyberspace grants small countries and individuals a power that was heretofore the preserve of great states,” Major-General Yadlin said. “Fighting in the cyber dimension is as significant as the introduction of fighting in the aerial dimension in the early 20th century.”

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About the author

Ron Ross worked as the first Sports Editor at WINTV. In Wollongong he ran The Hamburger Hut an outreach and discipleship program for youth. He served with Youth With a Mission in Hawaii, Philippines and Australia. He was senior pastor of the Noosa Baptist Church, Queensland for 9 years. With a heart for Israel Ron was appointed national director of Bridges for Peace, Australia. At the invitation of the BFP International Board he moved to Jerusalem and worked in the BFP Jerusalem headquarters for five years. Back in Australia he is now the Middle East correspondent for United Christian Broadcasters and travels regularly preaching and teaching.
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