April 3, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli officials have said they are set to implement a new strategy aimed at foiling the growing wave of cyberterrorism and cybertheft attacks perpetrated against its government ministries, military agencies, and major banking and commercial entities.

Israel averages about 350 on-line hacking attacks per second every day, according to Assaf Keren, the former project director for Israel's e-Gov portal. The portal offers a wealth of services for the public at large, and is, among other major sites like the Bank of Israel, considered a prime hacker magnet by Israel's political foes and criminal elements.

Hackers took down the site for two days in early 2008. While bank officials said the hackers "inserted propaganda material in Arabic," but they were unable to access financial data and information, which is stored on a separate system.

While the Mossad, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), military and other entities have their own departments dealing with on-line warfare, and last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu averred that Israel was preparing a top-level response to such attacks.

Leading the digital charge is Major General Isaac Ben-Israel, who headed up the Defense Ministry's Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, local daily Ha'aretz daily reported on Sunday.

Late last year, Ben-Israel and senior Israeli and international security experts gathered at an Israeli think tank to share know- how about battling cyber-crime, cyber-terrorism and cyber-warfare. Talks at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Herzliya-based Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) focused on efforts to slay, or at least rein in the multi-headed digital hydra.

Many of the experts at the program said again and again that substantially raising basic governmental, public and private awareness of the need to defend against on-line threats, from simple measures like not opening unknown email attachments, all the way up to tightly guarding national infrastructure, was crucial.

"Just as the events of Sep. 11 caught us by surprise, so could a major cyber assault," warned former Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Director Ya'akov Perry.

The senior forum will present its recommendations to Netanyahu in the next few weeks, the report said.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017