Uri, deputy commander of SIGNIT
Uri, deputy commander of SIGNITצילום: שבוע הסייבר אוניברסיטת תל אביב

The deputy commander of the IDF’s signal intelligence, or “SIGINT” unit, also known as Unit 8200, spoke at the Cyber Week Conference hosted by Tel Aviv University this week.

The address marked the first time an officer from the unit has made a public appearance, though military censors barred publication of the officer’s full name, referring to him only by his first name, Uri.

Uri described Unit 8200’s cyber defense operations, citing two recent examples, including a foiled attempt – widely attributed to Iran – to gain control of Israel’s water distribution system and poison the water supply, as well as a planned attack on American power plants.

“Once we obtain superiority over the attacker, we then act to deny their capabilities,” said Uri. “By collaborating with industry or if necessary, we do it on our own – implementing our tools at some point along the attack stream. Be assured – 8200 won’t rest until the threat is removed.”

“When do we apply these methods? I’ll mention two examples from recent years. In the first case an adversary attacked water treatment facilities in Israel. We saw this careless attacker attempting to poison the water in order to claim human lives. We mitigated that threat far ahead.”

“Another adversary, from this region, attacked in Israel. We initialized a CCO, and found out they are also trying to attack power plants in the US. This was the first indication for that attack. It enabled preventing this threat through our tight collaboration with our US partners.”