IDF Seeks A Few Good Geeks
October 18, 2012: The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) is intensifying the screening of all new recruits for the military to identify those qualified to work in Cyber War units. This is in response to the growing threat of Internet based attacks. So far, Israel has managed to defeat most of these attacks. Without much fanfare, Israel has taken the lead in many aspects of offensive and defensive Cyber War. One of the key components of this lead is the ability to spot talent and develop it. This is also a major reason for the disproportionate number of high-tech firms and new technology patents in Israel.
But it’s Israeli military applications for Cyber War that has caused the U.S. to work more closely with Israeli Cyber War organizations (an effort that apparently produced Stuxnet, Duqu, and several other more powerful Cyber War weapons). The Americans were impressed that Israel, a country with less than three percent of the U.S. population, could create Cyber War teams equal, and sometimes superior, to what the United States has.
Israel does this by employing a recruiting system it has long used to find quality recruits for elite combat and intelligence units. Back in the 1990s, Israeli leaders realized that the Internet would probably quickly develop into another battlefield. So commando recruiting was expanded to include recruits for new Cyber War organizations. There are now over a dozen of these, nearly all of them secret (as in even their names are classified). These small teams serve various military, intelligence, and other government organizations. It’s believed that there are only a few hundred hackers involved and many of them are in these jobs for only a short time (often to take care of their military service obligation). Most of these Cyber War experts go on to careers in the many Israeli software companies and are available to return to the military (as part of their reserve obligation) for short periods to help out with Cyber War operations.
Israel faces enemies who will use any means to attack, so this isn’t a surprise. but it is a good illustration of how well prepared Israel is.