Israel, US using cyberspace to attack enemies
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili. Photo: Reuters
Israel has admitted that it uses cyberspace to attack its enemies.
The confession came in a statement on the Israeli military's website on Sunday, local time.
The website said it was "for the first time" revealing a document recently written by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Operations Department, detailing the goals and methods of its cyber warfare.
"The IDF has been engaged in cyber activity consistently and relentlessly," said the statement.
It said it had been using cyberspace for intelligence gathering and "will" also use it "to execute attacks" and "clandestine" operations.
The admission comes after revelations the US Government was responsible for Stuxnet, the virus that in 2010 is said to have crippled Iran's uranium enrichment facilities. A report in The New York Times by David E. Sanger, based on the book Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, published, said President Barack Obama ordered the computer virus program, begun during the Bush administration, be ramped up. Iran had previously said Israel and the US were behind the attack.
Cyber activity would also be used to maintain Israel's military edge over its enemies, and to curtail their military capabilities.
Another goal was "thwarting and disrupting enemy projects" targeting the Israeli military and government.
The statement comes less than a week after one of the world's top virus-hunting agencies said it discovered a virus codenamed Flame on computers in Iran and several Middle East countries.
The virus was designed to carry out cyber espionage by stealing images, audio conversations and other data, and had been in use for more than two years without being noticed.
Flame targets computers running the Windows operating system and apparently spreads through infected thumb drives, websites and manipulated emails.
The Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab said most infections (189) were found in Iran, and, although other infections (98) were also found in Israel and the Palestinian territories, its sophistication has triggered media speculation that it was created by Israel.
Kaspersky Lab compared Flame to Duqu and Stuxnet, two other virus programs that targeted Iran.
There has also been speculation Israel was behind Stuxnet, a worm that infiltrated industrial systems of the German company Siemens, apparently to disrupt uranium enrichment in Iran.