Israel’s Cyber Defenses Protect Government Sites from 44 Million Attacks

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dan Dieterle

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As Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense shield blocks hundreds of incoming missiles from hitting their target, their cyber defense is also hard at work blocking millions of incoming cyber attacks. There have been millions of hacking attempts against government sites that have been intercepted with reportedly only one successfully taking down it’s target. And that for only a few minutes.

Israeli finance minister Yuval Steinitz told reporters that Israel is facing a second front in the battle with Hamas, a wave of cyber attacks. According to Steinitz, Israel’s cyber defense “deflected 44 million cyber attacks on government websites. All the attacks were thwarted except for one, which targeted a specific website that was down for six or seven minutes.”

Of the 44 million attacks:

  • The majority targeted military sites
  • 10 Million attacks targeted President Shimon Peres’s website
  • 7 Million against Israel’s Foreign Ministry
  • 3 million against Benjamin Netanyahu’s site

“The ministry’s computer division will continue to block the millions of cyber attacks” Minister Steinitz said adding, “We are enjoying the fruits of our investment in recent years in developing computerized defense systems.

But apparently, their defense does not defend against Denial of Service attacks as many Israeli sites still appear to be unavailable due to high traffic as this current screenshot of the President’s website shows:

And the Blog of the Israeli Defense Force seems to be offline. This is odd as it is protected by CloudFlare, a company that helps block Denial of Service Attacks :

Israel’s Iron dome is a missile defense shield that works very well. Hamas terrorists have fired approximately 1,000 missiles at Israeli cities. Of these, Iron Dome has successfully intercepted 90% of the projectiles that would have hit populated areas:

We’ve got about a 90% success rate,” he says, proudly giddy. “This is unprecedented in history.” It’s also impossible to confirm, but the lack of Israeli casualties suggests Iron Dome is the most-effective, most-tested missile shield the world has ever seen.

But Israel knows that they must do something about the cyber attacks. The hacker group Anonymous claims to have taken down about 700 Israeli websites, defaced over 100 and apparently wiped Jerusalem’s Bank database(which has since been restored).

Israel is in the process of creating a “Digital Iron Dome”, which according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will protect them against future cyber attacks:

Every day, many attempts are made to infiltrate Israel’s computer systems,” the prime minister warned. “Just as we have the Iron Dome against missiles and the security fence against infiltrators and terrorism, we will have a similar protection against cyber-attacks.

Defense will help against incoming attacks, but don’t forget that Israel also has offensive cyber capabilities. The country that helped develop “Stuxnet” is not toothless in the realm of cyber attack. One can safely assume that Israel is tracking the sources of these attacks and will deal with them as they see fit.

Cross-posted from Cyber Arms

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