More defences to protect the ATC from hackers

Israel is under attack. This time not by rockets but by minds behind computers.

At this stage, the damage is marginal but concerns are growing as these attacks may soon affect the operation of critical systems including those that control the country’s air traffic.

The “hacktivist” collective Anonymous OpIsrael, which has launched successful cyberattacks against Israeli websites in the past, attacked again yesterday.

“This is a message from Anonymous Operation Israel, Anonymous Special Operations, Pillars of Anonymous, the Anonymous Collective of the cyber warriors from across the planet: on 7 April 2014, we call upon our brothers and sisters to hack, deface, hijack, database leak, admin takeover, and DNS terminate the Israeli Cyberspace by any means necessary,” read a robotic-sounding narrator on a YouTube video the group posted on Sunday.

Anonymous first struck in November 2012 after Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense assault on Gaza, and again on 7 April 2013.

The cyberattack a year ago took down scores of Israeli websites, as Anonymous claimed to have hacked into the websites of the Prime Minister’s Office, Defence Ministry, Shin Bet and other state agencies. The group also published a long list of Israeli email addresses and credit card numbers reportedly taken from the site of a business that sells equipment to the Israel Defence Forces.

But experts say that so far, Anonymous has not caused significant damage to state or civilian Internet operations.

Israel is operating a massive cyber defence system supervised by a control centre.

Experts said on 8 April that so far the defensive systems have succeeded in blocking the hackers’ access into critical systems.

One of these is the national air traffic control that is operated jointly by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and the civil aviation authorities.

But as all signs indicate, the attacks will continue and therefore more defences are being built to protect critical systems.


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