Israel’s largest ever home front exercise ended yesterday as part of the emergency authorities’ preparation for a number of possible scenarios, including a cyber attack that in theory could bring down the country’s computer networks.
Week end comment
Israel began to test its home front preparedness conducting annual drills following the war against Hezbollah in 2006 where serious failings were exposed in Israel’s handling of emergencies. This year’s drill, code-named Turning Point 4, simulated the firing of hundreds of missiles from multiple fronts. The fourth annual drill lasted five days and was carried out in all parts of the country.
The emphasis of this year’s exercise was on the response of local authorities to a military crisis. But according to the Haaretz newspaper the civil defence drill on Wednesday “highlighted a disturbing chasm between the hyperactivity of the authorities and the apathy of the public”.
Public indifference would have been swept aside if the authorities had given the green light for a drill whereby all Internet services nationwide were shut down. But Israel did indeed test its response to a strike at its computer and electronic communications infrastructure after a cyber attack, albeit on a limited scale, the first such drill in the past four years.
The “cyber preparedness” part of the exercise simulated an Internet-based assault on the country’s communications and computer infrastructure, of the type defence experts believe hostile elements could mount in a war.
Electronic targets could include mobile phone networks, banks and transportation communications systems, such as those of Israel Railways and Ben-Gurion International Airport.
A special department of Military Intelligence has been created to counter electronic warfare threats. It began back in 1997 and goes by the name of Tehila, an acronym for the Governmental Infrastructure for the Internet Era. The Shin Bet security service is responsible for protecting the civilian electronic infrastructure.
During Turning Point 4, an announcement was made that the Internet had crashed due to a cyber attack, and the forces involved in the drill had to cope until service was restored. How did they do? It was still under wraps when this article was published.
In its own war on terror, Israel has to brace herself for an electronic blitzkrieg sponsored by any nerd sympathising with rogue anti-Zionist states. In 2009 Israeli government computers were targeted during Operation Cast Lead. Fortunately, the damage sustained was minor. February’s cyber attack drill in the U.S. showed just how vulnerable Israel’s main ally is for electronic warfare from data insurgents.
In June 2009 Israel admitted a major cyber attack hit government computers in January during Operation Cast Lead. The computers were briefly deactivated by the millions of junk emails being sent to them every second by a program which officials said utilised over a half a million computers worldwide. It’s not known if this was the work of a coordinated group or a lone hacker who wrote the software necessary to subjugate all the computers necessary to carry out the attack.
Officials said that Tehila was able to fend off the attacks and rectify most of problems within minutes. The most serious breach was the website of the IDF Home Front Command, which has information vital to Israel’s ability to respond to emergencies and was down for around three hours during the attacks. Israeli websites routinely endure attacks during flare-ups in the conflict with Palestinian Arabs, but this was the most severe and coordinated cyber attack ever, according to the report.
In February a three hour long cyber attack drill showed that Israel’s online friend, the U.S., is unprepared for total blackout scenarios. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, the United States is incapable of responding to an attack on its computer networks. An exercise conducted found that critical communication and electrical power systems could be seriously affected.
The Cyber ShockWave exercise was conducted to determine how the government could develop a real-time response to a wide-scale cyber crisis. During the test, a group of ten former White House advisors and other top officials joined forces to grapple with specific scenarios. According to the officials, the U.S. isn’t sufficiently prepared for an attack of this magnitude.
Some of the main problems officials faced were how to deal with a malware attack that spread via people’s personal computers and smart phones. Additionally, the scenario involving a complete power grid collapse caused a domino effect in technical failures that hampered officials’ abilities to handle the situation. Officials who took part in the test agreed that no grand plan exists.
The shutdown of the Internet and electrical power would spell disaster for any “household” in the global village. The world offline is a world lost in cyberspace. The tech-savvy “mansion” of God the Father – I am, of course, referring to Israel – has furnished the world with cyberspace solutions and represents the vanguard of all future developments in the computer industry. Jews residing in the American “cottage” have also contributed handsomely.
It’s of the utmost importance that the Israelis and ex-pat Jews develop the defence systems which can keep the skies clear of an electronic onslaught from the prince of the power of the air and his jihad hackers and hijackers. God’s house, Israel, will be the ultimate refuge in the days ahead. The God of Israel and his Messiah have ready their grand plan that will be the saving force for a millennium to come. Tehila – in Hebrew the word means song or praise – must take into account that they are assisted by angels singing along. These heavenly agents know a thing or two about protecting human software.