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December 2, 2013 3:18 pm

Israel Electric Corp Trains Computer Enthusiasts to Stop Foreign Hackers in ‘Cyber Gym’

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avatar by Joshua Levitt

An Israel Electric Corporation building. Photo: Yehoshua Yosef.

Israel Electric Corp is training hackers how to defend against cyber warfare at a new state-of-the-art “Cyber Gym,” behind the Orot Rabin power station, AFP reported from Hadera, Israel.

“Israel, we believe, is the most-attacked country,” Cyber Gym director Ofir Hason told AFP. “And as the most-attacked civilian company in Israel, this gives us the unique capabilities to train other companies around the world to defend against system hacking.”

CEO Eli Glickman said IEC is subject to some 10,000 attacks per hour, making the Cyber Gym’s instructors well-versed in the dark arts of cyber warfare.

“We’re a group of professionals from the army, security services and (straight) from university,” said an instructor who asked to remain anonymous. His role is to launch simulated attacks against the computer systems used by the trainees, who work from an adjacent building that models the isolation they would endure during an attack, without any inkling of how it was being perpetrated.

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“It’s a playground to simulate real cyber attacks,” the trainer said while seated in the “attack room” — described by AFP “as a computer nerd’s paradise, decorated with Star Wars and Pac-Man murals and lines of code running off wall-mounted screens that show the hacking taking place live.”

“If the hackers succeed, the lights go off and the system shuts down,” he said, emulating what Israeli Defense Forces leadership believe to be a likely outcome from a foreign hacker attack.

In October, IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz described a future war where physical attacks against Israel are combined with cyber warfare. “It is possible that there will be a cyber attack on a site supplying the daily needs of Israeli citizens; that traffic lights would stop working or the banks would be paralyzed,” Gantz told a security conference.

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