Iron Cyber Dome?

October 15, 2014 6:15 AM

An earlier post discussed the possibility of South Korea purchasing Israeli “Iron Dome” anti-missile technology (check out the cool video); now according to an essay by Michael Raska at the Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore, Israel is applying Iron Dome lessons to cyber defense. South Korea is reportedly still toying with the idea of installing the Iron Dome; given North Korea’s expanding capacity in this domain should South Korea be importing these Israeli lessons as well?

According to Raska, during the July-August “Operation Protective Edge” conflict, “Israel faced large-scale cyber-attacks on its civilian communications infrastructure, including denial of service (DDoS) and Domain Network System (DNS) attacks from both state and non-state actors…Cyber attackers also targeted the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) –its website and communications networks.”

The Israeli government had been aware of such possibilities for some time, and in 2011 established a National Cyber Bureau (NCB) operating out of the prime minister’s office. Shin Bet, the Israeli Security Agency, opposed the creation of the NCB, arguing that without intelligence capabilities, the organization would be unable to take pro-active measures against potential threats during the early organization and planning stages, and hence would be forced to rely on reactive strategies. Prime Minister Netanyahu sided against Shin Bet however, and last month announced a new National Cyber Defense Authority tasked with protecting civilian cyberspace, and not just security facilities.

Gleaning potential lessons from the Iron Dome experience are part of this new effort. According to Raska, these include “how to create effective cyber intelligence (enemy analysis and target creation), early warning and absorption readiness, strike effort, area suppression, active defense, command and control, passive detection, and ultimately, cyber deterrence…Amid these changes Israel’s subconventional threat spectrum has blurred the traditional offense and defense lines and widened the scope and character of operational requirement, including the need to protect both the physical and cyber-domains concurrently.”

Obviously, there are limitations to the applicability of Israeli lessons to the Korean case. It is hard to imagine the South Korean government applying to North Korea anything close to the pro-active verve the Israelis routinely deploy against their adversaries. But as consternation mounts over North Korean cyber attacks against both South Korean military and civilian targets, anti-missile defenses may not be the only thing South Korea imports from Israel.

And now from Accra via Tel Aviv:

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Marcus Noland Senior Research Staff

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