Israel fears hackers could target Iron Dome and use it against them as Iran tensions soar

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Israel is preparing for a scenario where hackers break into the Iron Dome – a rocket system protecting the country from incoming missiles – and use it against them in a terrorist attack, Express.co.uk has discovered. The Israel Defence Force’s (IDF) J6 and Cyber Defense Directorate (JCDD) on the outskirts of Tel Aviv is a military base that trains up soldiers to defend against cyber attacks as the nature of warfare continues to modernise in the digital age. Express.co.uk gained access to the base and was given a whistlestop tour by soldiers, who plan and construct simulated attacks on their computer systems as part of their military training. 

One of the scenarios the soldiers presented was a situation whereby hackers are able to take control of the Iron Dome themselves, rendering useless the IDF recruits who are at the controls 24 hours of the day. 

The mobile all-weather air defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense, has a missile interception success rate of over 95 percent, the soldiers said, and is crucial for demolishing rockets that fly into its territory from across the borders.

The defense system is operated from different points around the nation to take out short-range incoming missiles by firing its own rockets, each one costing $150,000 (£130,000) which have to be reloaded one at a time, to take out the enemy weapon. 

Express.co.uk was also shown a model version of an Iron Dome by IDF soldiers, whose names must remain anonymous for security reasons. 

The cyber experts of the IDF have warned that in a situation where the Iron Dome systems were hacked in one of the terrorism simulation scenarios, the rockets from the Iron Dome would be unleashed on Israel. 

Luckily, the soldiers are prepared for this situation and have been specially trained as a “multi-dimensional army with operational effectiveness”. The IDF’s digital transformation division also ensures that there is connectivity between different parts of the army to further defend against high-tech threats. 

And given tensions with Iran are soaring amid the heated geopolitical climate of the Middle East, it could be more important than ever for this IDF division to keep its eyes on the ball. 

This week, Israeli forces successfully struck the Dimas military airport area in Syria, where Iranian ‘kamikaze’ (Shahed-136) drones were reportedly being made. 

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A report by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) on October 21 said: “According to SOHR sources, military logistics and equipment used to assemble Iranian-made drones in Dimas military airport area in western Rif Dimashq were destroyed after being directly targeted by Israeli missiles. A radar and airstrip were also targeted at the airport.”

The SOHR added that weapons, ammunition and parts to manufacture drones arrived at Dimas military airport in January 2022. The report continued:  “It is worth noting that Iran and its backed militias almost completely controlled Dimas military airport during the recent period.”

The Shahed-136 kamikaze drones are the weapons that Russia has been unleashing on Ukraine in recent weeks in brutal strikes which have rained down across multiple cities in a major offensive and significant escalation in the war. 

Dubbed “suicide drones”, the weapons swoop down and detonate into mobile targets, are were used to help Russia forces take out nearly 30 percent of critical energy infrastructure two weeks ago.

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While the West has agreed to send crucial air defences to help protect Ukraine from further strikes, Israel has held back as it is attempting to maintain a balancing act with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who controls much of the air space in Syria and is important for Israel’s security interests there. 

However, as well as destroying Iran’s drone factory in Syria, according to some reports, Israel has provided anti-drone systems which provide intelligence for targeting the Iranian drones, Eurasian Times quoted an anonymous Ukrainian official saying.

A previous report has suggested that Israel has been supplying Ukraine with some “basic intelligence” about the Iranian suicide drones, which could also threaten to heighten Israel-Iran tensions.

But Jerusalem still appears unwilling to go the full hog and provide weapons, so as not to risk losing Russian support for its air raids in Syria. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is not happy about this, and has previously said: “It’s time for Israel to choose a side, back Ukraine.”



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