Israel Announces Enhanced Cybersecurity Measures for Communications Companies – The Organization for World Peace

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On April 2, the Israeli government announced its intention to significantly improve the cybersecurity of Israeli communications networks with the aim of building an “iron dome” of cyber defense. At a press conference, Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel said, “We are trying to impose the right standard on communications companies in order to protect Israel and create a kind of ‘iron dome’ against cyberattacks. . We suffer thousands of cyberattacks every year. Recent cyberattacks against Israel have been carried out through communication networks, which allow the hacker to share information or shut down essential services. Illustrating the danger of unsecured communications networks, Hendel pointed out, “There is not a vital infrastructure that is not connected to a server that is somehow connected to the communications domain.”

In March, Israel suffered a major cyberattack that blocked government websites for about an hour. Hackers carrying out a denial of service (DDoS) attack have overloaded website servers with data in an attempt to cripple Israel’s cybersphere. After the attack, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, citing an unnamed Israeli defense establishment source, said the attack was the largest cyberattack launched against Israel. Weeks before the attack, a delegation from the US Department of Homeland Security arrived in Israel to sign pledges to expand a system of cybersecurity cooperation.

Israel and Iran have been locked in a shadow war of cyberattacks on infrastructure and websites. The Stuxnet virus that disabled Iran’s nuclear program in 2010 showcased Israel’s vast cyber warfare capabilities. Although cyberattacks begin in the technological sphere, they can be targeted at physical infrastructure such as power plants, water treatment facilities, or industrial plants. To date, Iran has failed to penetrate Israel’s cybersecurity defenses in an attack on industrial equipment. However, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in January 2020 that Israeli security officials constantly detect and disrupt Iranian cybersecurity attacks, according to The Washington Post. Cybersecurity firm Check Point reported that Israeli businesses suffered nearly 1,500 attacks per week in the first three months of 2022.

Israeli cybersecurity concerns come amid an increase in cyberattacks in the Middle East. According to the National News, the region saw 161 million malware attacks in the first half of 2021. These attacks were sometimes politically motivated. After the UAE signed the Abraham Accords establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, it experienced a wave of increased cyberattacks according to UAE Cybersecurity Chief Mohamed Al Kuwaiti. Israel intends to create updated cybersecurity standards for communication networks. Large communications companies will be required to implement undisclosed procedures to identify and prevent cyber threats. Additionally, they will need to purchase advanced technologies to respond to future cyberattacks. The Israeli government declares that these procedures will not infringe on the private communications of the Israeli public.

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