Cyberwarfare – fighting an enemy by shutting down its computer systems, and thereby destroying its economy, or even its ability to fight a war – is one of several new ways to wage war in the 21st century.
The new generation of creative warfare raises the bar for Israel’s defense capabilities – but IDF Major-General Amos Yadlin is unruffled by the challenge.
Speaking to the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University in a recent policy address, Yadlin said that one particular new method waging war – cyberwarfare – “fits well with the state of Israel’s defense doctrine.”
The two primary points of Israel’s defense policy – maintaining the battle on enemy territory and when possible, utilizing the pre-emptive strike – have remained steady throughout the decades since Israel’s birth. But as Yadlin noted, “Fighting in the cyber-dimension is as significant as the introduction of fighting in the aerial dimension in the early 20th century… preserving the lead in this field is especially important, given the dizzying pace of change.”
Given the Jewish State’s recent appellation as the “Startup Nation” it comes as no surprise to find out how the IDF responded to a spate of attempted cyber attacks on Israeli Internet Web sites. The attacks by Hamas and other terrorists, as well as Iran, Turkey and others in the Muslim world were carried out during last year’s counterterrorist Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
The IDF responded by hacking in to the Hamas al-Aqsa television network computer system to broadcast a message to Gaza viewers in Arabic that said, “Hamas leaders are in hiding, and they left you on the front lines.”
That was followed up a day later by another message, again from the Israelis: an animated mini-film of the Hamas leadership being shot down, with a comment in Arabic that warned, “Time is running out.”