IDF intel chief says Israel under nonstop cyber-threats, is retaliating

The head of Military Intelligence on Tuesday said Israel is facing constant cyber threats and will respond to attacks as it does to any other type of aggression.

“Israel is under constant threat in the cyber dimension, and attacks are sometimes carried out against it. We are able to deal with most of the threats through advanced defense capabilities,” Maj. Gen. Tamir Hayman said at a conference at Tel Aviv University.

Hayman said that like in other military theaters, defense alone is not sufficient and “additional steps must be taken to preserve Israel’s [tactical] superiority over our enemies.”

“Those who attack Israel by air, sea, land, or cyber need to understand the risk they are taking,” Hayman declared.

“As seen time and time again, the attacks will be answered accordingly,” he warned.

Hayman also said that during the recent 11-day war between Israel and the Hamas terror group in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces used online sources, alongside artificial intelligence and machine learning, to assist in planning and conducting operations.

“This allowed the IDF to function better, faster, and with fewer casualties,” he said.

Soldiers of the IDF Intelligence Unit attend a ceremony for the appointment of the new chief of Intelligence at Glilot military base, near Tel Aviv, March 28, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

This led Military Intelligence officials to declare the Gaza campaign the world’s “first AI war.”

In one use of artificial intelligence, the Israeli military deployed small flocks of quadcopter drones over the southern Gaza Strip, with each device monitoring a specific patch of land, The Times of Israel learned at the time. When a rocket or mortar launch was detected, other armed aircraft or ground-based units attacked the source of the fire.

The military reportedly plans to expand the use of this technology to other ground units in the future.

Hayman made his comments during a Cyber Week conference hosted by Tel Aviv University, during which he received an award on behalf of the military.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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