The government has given the go-ahead for the establishment of a national cyber crime unit, one that will protect Israel's computer systems.
According to the plans presented to the Cabinet, the unit will coordinate between different law enforcement and government agencies. Among the tasks assigned to the unit will be the responsibility for ensuring the security of infrastructure and defense systems from hackers and other cyber invaders. The unit will also help increase awareness of cyber security in the private sector, government officials said.
Establishment of the unit has come in the wake of recent major cyber attacks by hacker groups on governments, banks and businesses around the world.
The International Money Fund was struck by hackers early in May, prior to the arrest of former IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
U.S. military contractor Lockheed Martin also announced that it had detected and thwarted “a significant and tenacious attack” on its computer system in May.
Nevertheless, a company spokesperson said that “as a result of the swift and deliberate actions taken to protect the network and increase IT security... no customer, program or employee personal data has been compromised.”
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency director Leon Panetta warned the Congress in June, “The next Pearl Harbor that we confront” would be a cyber attack that might endanger the nation's security as well as its economy.
Such an attack, he said, could be one that “cripples our power systems, our grid, our security systems, our financial systems, [and] our governmental systems.”
More than 18 months ago, then-director of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), Yuval Diskin, warned an audience at the International Conference on Homeland Security about the dangers of cyber terrorism. Among those were listed use of the Internet to recruit and train people for terrorist activities, in addition to hacker activity.