Israel facing ‘cyber weapons shortage’

Written by By Martin Plaut, CNN

Israel has already drawn up a formidable arsenal of cutting-edge weapons to protect its citizens and thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions, military experts say.

The trouble is many of those weapons, as well as the Israeli public’s confidence in its military, are falling into the hands of foreign groups and individuals for which Israel has little or no recourse.

The problem is growing because too few of the weapons given to Israel are being utilized responsibly, leading to a mounting stockpiles of “inactive” weapons, Israel’s public safety minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told public radio this week.

The idea of stockpiles has particularly stung the country’s army, which has asked Israel’s National Security Council to speed up the transfer of advanced cyber weapons to it in the wake of foreign groups’ repeated attacks.

For them, the most troubling part is that many nations are adopting digital attack capabilities, which allow them to compromise “the computer we count on to protect our lives, our cities and our way of life.”

Aharonovitch, who took up his post last September, told public radio: “There’s a problem. We have the rockets (firing systems) … but the rockets cannot reach the external targets.

“The problem is there (at) the other end, the computers and the equipment we give to our troops are causing damage. Many of them are malfunctioning. They make it complicated.

“Unfortunately the computers that we give the army are not used properly. We’re pushing for better control over them to make sure that they perform according to their code.

“We are distributing information to our troops. We tell them who is attacking us, who to avoid, what to do, how to do it, what information to use, what not to use.”

He said the flow of data from hacker groups to hostile forces on an international scale is “profound.”

Aharonovitch said Israel is one of the countries that is an open and trusted partner with the FBI, CIA and other agencies.

“We have the confidence of the world because we protect them on the inside. But the problem is, we don’t have all the information,” he said.

“We should try to protect ourselves from the outside world. We have the capabilities and we have the know-how. We have the military and technological capabilities. We know what it takes, we know how to do it, and the question is do we choose that decision, do we work more on the military level or take it on the civilian level?”

He said cyber weaponry “won’t be the last missile” Israel will use to defend itself. “We will have more abilities, we will have new advanced capabilities and in the end the world will be unable to stop us because we know our way of operation and we will protect ourselves,” he said.

“The question is how we can use the weapon, how we can protect it, and how we can make sure that we achieve that outcome. And I don’t think that we will have a problem with adversaries.”

Leave a Comment