JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s government has set up a task force to secure the country’s critical computer systems against possible cyber attacks.
The task force will "encourage and develop the field of cybernetics and turn the State of Israel into a global center of knowledge, in cooperation with academia, industry, the security establishment and other public bodies," according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The main responsibility of the task force will be to expand the state’s ability to defend vital infrastructure networks against cybernetic terrorist attacks perpetrated by foreign countries and terrorist elements.
The task force was established in the wake of cyber attacks around the globe, including attacks that affected the electricity grid in Brazil, banks in Estonia and elections in Myanmar.
The Bank of Israel’s website was shut down in 2008, and last June, after the Turkish flotilla incident, hackers attacked many Israeli Internet sites, including that of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality.
Netanyahu ordered the allocation of a special budget to implement a five-year plan that will place Israel at the global forefront in cybernetics. The plan includes investments in academic research and development; the establishment of a super computer-based center at an Israeli university; the establishment of academic centers of excellence; accelerated activity to bring researchers and academics back to Israel; significantly increasing the number of cybernetics students; and upgrading university research infrastructures.