Enabling the air force to operate under cyber attack

Israel has been under constant cyber attack from a number of hostile countries. Specific details related to attacks on the Israeli defence forces – including the air force – are classified, but are in “huge numbers”.

The Israeli defence forces (IDF) take these attacks very seriously. “We consider these threats as severe as rockets and bombs,” one source told me.

The IDF – specifically the Israeli air force (IAF) – relies on many network-centric systems that form the backbone of the service’s capability to react to fast-evolving situations.

The IDF recently established a cyber defence situation room that will protect the military’s computer systems 24 hours a day.

The situation room is capable of seeing the “big picture” of the different cyber defence units, assessing threats and incidents and working with local cyber defence teams.

Israel is one of the first nations in the world to establish a situation room devoted entirely to cyber defence.

“The situation room is part of the operational preparedness of the IDF, the goal being to maintain the constancy of the regular activity based on the IDF’s cyber world – in the air, at sea and on land,” a senior cyber defence officer told the IDF’s magazine.

The cyber defence situation room is equipped with command and control and advanced monitoring systems, which were developed in conjunction with civilian defence companies.

“These systems enable the various branches of the military to forge their internal protective processes, while enabling the situation room itself to oversee these processes,” the officer explained. “Furthermore, the situation room neutralizes cyber activity that occurs in the world that could harm the IDF.”

The situation room is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week by dozens of soldiers who have completed the IDF’s Cyber Shield Course.

This training course incorporates training on a simulator that imitates cyber attacks – the world’s first simulator of its kind.

IDF cyber defence teams stationed throughout Israel are responsible for dealing with cyber incidents locally. In case of an incident these crews cannot handle independently, a back-up crew arrives to provide support, under the command of the situation room.

According to an IDF source the new cyber defence situation room will provide more precise assessments of threats and incidents, making the cyber defence teams more effective and dramatically increasing the security of the IDF’s computer systems.

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