“For I will defend this city to save it, for Mine own sake, and for My servant David’s sake.” (Isaiah 37:35)
Israel is banking on cyber intelligence to fight a new enemy dubbed as the “lone terrorist” that parallels organized terror organizations’ war against Israel.
“The most dangerous country in the Middle East is the State of Facebook,” former IDF Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told this week’s annual Cybertech conference, which focused on the Boycott Israel and BDS—acronym for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions—campaigns against Israel.
The term “lone terrorist” sounds innocent, but hundreds of Palestinian Authority and Israeli Arabs, exposed to social media incitement, have acted on their own to kill and wound dozens of Israelis in the past two years.
Initially dismissed as a minimal threat, it has become one of the most difficult enemies to defeat, because each terrorist acts individually, usually without a rap sheet and without the support, financial and otherwise, of a terror cell.
Cyber technology can help spot them, said Gilad Erdan, who heads both the Public Security and the Strategic Affairs ministries. Erdan told the conference that Israel has established a National Cyber Bureau, headed by Dr. Eviatar Matani.
“There is incitement on Palestinian television and social media and you find yourself faced with hundreds of thousands of potential attackers who could try to kill innocent civilians,” Erdan said, adding, “They change profile pictures on Facebook, write on Facebook about their intentions and inform family and friends that they intend to attack.”
Israel is investing in technology to track down potential lone terrorists, and Erdan added that $25 million has been budgeted to fight the BDS movement, which was labeled an “existential threat” to Israel by Adam Milstein, head of the Israeli American Council that organized the Cybertech conference.
Yadlin told the conference that BDS is the equivalent of several armies fighting Israel, and gave the example of one of the methods used by BDS to undermine Israel, buying shares of American corporations and seeking representation on their boards of directors in order to stage a vote for divesting from Israel.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Cybertech conference that cyber threats originating from both organizations and countries “could paralyze a country.”
The two-day conference was sponsored by more than 100 technological giants, including IBM, Microsoft, Intel, and Samsung, all of which operate in Israel.
Other companies attending the conference were Illusive Networks, Argus, Checkmarx, Safe-T, ForeScout, Cybereason, Intellinx, PayPal’s CyActive, Microsfot’s Secure Islands, Lacoon, and Checkpoint.