July 19, 2024
Israel Response to Hamas Cyber Attack Prompts Armed Response
A response that includes cyber attacks, as well as the real possibility of armed responses, has just been proven to be, under specific circumstances, an integral part of military targeting.
A response that includes cyber attacks, as well as the real possibility of armed responses, has just been proven to be, under specific circumstances, an integral part of military targeting.

As part of a larger operation that Israel conducted in response to rocket attacks from Gaza the first weekend in May, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) thwarted a Hamas cyber offensive against Israeli targets. Israel’s response did not stop at using digital means to turn back Hamas’ cyber assault. The IDF targeted and demolished a building where the Hamas cyber operatives worked. “Hamas no longer has cyber capabilities after our strike,” said IDF spokesperson Brigadier General Ronen Manelis, a statement that indicates Israel’s concerns in responding to Hamas included the terror organization’s use of cyber-warfare.

According to the commander of the IDF’s Cyber Division, Hamas’ cyberattack occurred on Saturday, May 4 and was aimed at harming the quality of life of Israeli citizens. This could mean anything: from attacking critical civilian infrastructure to interrupting secure communications, to interfering with ongoing military operations to theft to espionage. There’s a wide range of possible Hamas targets and no sensible reason for the IDF to specify where the enemy might have succeeded or even come close to succeeding.

But it’s clear that Israel’s ability to answer cyber offensives had been planned thoughtfully and was coordinated across military/civilian lines. The cyber operation that countered Hamas was a joint effort of Unit 8200 of IDF’s Military Intelligence, the IDF’s Teleprocessing Directorate, and the Shin Bet security service.

Although the bombing of Hamas’ cyber center was part of a large operation, Israel’s response offers a precedent for future cyber operations. For the first time, an adversarial cyber operation has been addressed with a combination of cyber defense and kinetic action. While a U.S. drone strike killed Junaid Hussain, an ISIL’s hacker chief in August 2015, Israel’s answer to cyberwarfare is different.

With Hussain, the U.S. targeted a single individual after much planning and preparation that was prolonged when Hussain used his son as a shield to protect himself. By contrast, Israel targeted an entire building, launched its planes, and crippled Hamas’ cyber capabilities in short. Israel’s response marks the first time that a country has used immediate military force to destroy a foe’s cyber capability in an active conflict.

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See Also:

(1) Behind apparent military escalation, US and Iran buy 2-3 months’ grace for reassessment

(2) The Middle East Anti-Peace Movement

(3) A Looming Crisis in the Mideast

(4) WATCH: First B-52 bombers depart for Middle East to deter Iran

(5) Iran pulls out of parts of nuclear deal, sets 60-day deadline to renegotiate terms

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