19 May 2011 by defenseWeb Reuters
Israel set up a government cyber command yesterday to secure the country against hacking attacks on its key networks and boost the competitiveness of local industries specialising in hi-tech security.
The 80-person team led by a retired general and unveiled by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu follows similar initiatives in the West as a precaution against industrialised nations falling prey to paralysing sabotage of their online systems.
Though Israel's secret services are widely suspected of having waged such attacks against arch-foe Iran, Netanyahu said the new unit would be defensive.
The National Cybernetic Taskforce would have access to a budget of "hundreds of millions of shekels" in the coming years.
"I promise that we will stand up to the menace of future cyber attacks," Netanyahu told reporters without elaborating on such threats. "There is not a shadow of a doubt about that."
Israel is a global hi-tech leader and exporter, its civilian firms boosted by recruits from, and industrial cooperation with, the country's universities and advanced conscript military.
The new command "will coordinate between the needs of national defence and the growth potential of the cyber industries and the academic field," Netanyahu said, citing a plan to incorporate related studies at secondary-school level.
"The state of Israel will be a centre for dealing with the cyber world," he said.