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Our information was derived from two different sources : on the one hand, a journalist working for the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot and, on the other hand, the Hebrew-language news site Inyan Merkazi. It has been widely disseminated and expanded on by television media, such as Al Jazeera or the Iranian English language global news network Press TV. It was accused of violating rules on arms trading and training by supplying a regime which was under sanctions.

In the end, the company got off with a simple reminder that its mercenaries should respect their "ethical obligations". At this point, a brief flashback is called for: General Moussa Dadis Camara seized power in Guinea at the end of In May , he entrusted Global CST with the creation, oversight, training and equipment of his presidential guard for 10 million dollars per year. On the strength of the secret information provided by these characters, Global CST escaped penalties.

For its part, Global CST and its able attorneys launched a propaganda campaign pretending that the mercenary company was in Guinea to do Global CST has therefore been entrusted with an unofficial mission in breach of Israeli law, which would explain the virulence of its denial. Moreover, other Israeli groups are present in the other camp. At the same time, the U. Ambassador to the Security Council has requested that the mercenaries intervening in Libya be exempt from prosecution under international law.

One can never be too careful. Major General Israel Ziv, who is portrayed by his lawyers as a well-reputed person inside Israel, is the former Tsahal chief of operations. In this capacity, he played a key role in the war crimes committed in Lebanon in , supervising the bombardments that killed 1 civilians, caused the displacement of more than one million people, and destroyed over 15 buildings.

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On behalf of our clients, Major General res. Due to the fact that the content of this article is so absurd and outrageous, it does not merit a serious and substantive comment. Without derogating from the generality of the foregoing, it should be mentioned that this article, which clearly lacks any substantive basis, although raises sever allegations against reputable figures in Israel, was published without first obtaining the response of our clients to the allegations against them contained therein, and this by itself constitutes a harsh violation of accepted journalistic practices.

It should be mentioned that Major General res. In the event that our request as set forth in Section 7 above will not be fulfilled within 24 hours of the date of this letter, our clients instructed us to pursue any legal actions and remedies available to them under any applicable law and jurisdiction. Article licensed under Creative Commons. Support Voltaire Network.

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Working backward, researchers there identified the hyperlinks as part of a sophisticated spyware program built specifically to target Mansoor. Israel is a world leader in private cybertechnology, with at least firms covering everything from banking security to critical infrastructure defense. But while most of these firms aim to protect companies from cyberattacks, a few of them have taken advantage of the thin line between defensive and offensive cybercapabilities to provide clients with more sinister services.

The privatization of this offensive capability is still in its infancy. But it raises broad concerns about the proliferation of some very powerful tools and the way governments are losing the monopoly over their use.

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When state actors employ cyberweapons, there is at least the prospect of regulation and accountability. But when private companies are involved, things get more complicated. Israel offers a good test case. Nadav Zafrir, a retired brigadier general and former commander of Unit , said even soldiers who spend their service defending Israel from cyberattacks end up knowing something about how to attack the other side. The Mansoor case was not an isolated one. Other Israeli firms offer similar products. They were apparently able to introduce a computer virus—called Stuxnet—into the facility despite it having an air gap in place, meaning that the facility was physically disconnected from the wider internet.

These firms include Aperio Systems, which is headed by a former intelligence officer named Liran Tancman. Stuxnet is name-checked repeatedly by experts in the field and with good reason: It was a highly successful cyberattack against a state actor that caused real physical damage. Yet Stuxnet may already be outdated as an analytical touchstone.

The development that worries him and other experts most is the proliferation of the internet of things. The problem is that the internet, which came of age in the s and s, was never designed with security in mind. So everyone is now scrambling to play catch-up, patching holes in both information systems e. The short answer is no—at least, probably not. Thus far, apart from Stuxnet, the most successful reported instances of a cyberattack causing widespread physical damage have taken place in Ukraine and Estonia.


Although these attacks—against power grids, financial institutions, and government ministries—caused real harm, they were nevertheless identified and rectified relatively quickly. None of the doomsday scenarios that experts and pundits like to warn about—such as hackers seizing control of a nuclear weapon or a commercial airliner or malware causing Wall Street to collapse—has materialized. The issue is the pace of development between attackers and defenders. Always keep running. If part of the danger comes from the blurriness of the line that separates cyberdefense and cyberoffense, another part comes from the almost nonexistent distinction between the private and public spheres online.

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In July, for example, Israeli authorities announced multiple indictments against a former employee of NSO Group, alleging that he had stolen sensitive proprietary code on his way out of the firm. This incident, quickly detected by the firm, is just one case among many that shows how intimately the private and public spheres are linked in cyberwarfare. Capabilities that were once the sole province of governments frequently find their way into private—often criminal—hands.

The Stuxnet virus code is now publicly available. In , a cyberweapon developed by the NSA that exploited vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows was stolen by hackers—possibly Russian—and posted online; in May , other hackers—possibly North Korean—then used the tool to launch a worldwide ransomware attack. The attack, called WannaCry, is believed to have infected , computers in more than countries, including major parts of the British National Health Service, before it was rolled back.

In a separate case, Mandiant, a private U. And in , Unit reportedly hacked into Kaspersky Lab, a global leader in anti-virus software, and discovered that the private company had been acting as a back door for Russian intelligence into its clients, including two dozen U. Fake news articles and tweets sought to cast Saudi Arabia and other rivals of Tehran in a bad light.

A massive breach at the American health insurer was thought to be the work of Chinese spies. Mobilization messages for Israeli reserve forces in wartime go through privately held telecom networks. And the internet of things—which has connected so many of our consumer products—has also created massive vulnerabilities. You go after the iPads the pilots take home.

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Israel, for one, has chosen to combat the problem on a statewide level by linking the public and private spheres, sometimes literally. Indeed, it must if it is to keep up with rapid developments in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other breakthroughs in computational power. Cyberwar has not only blurred the lines between offense and defense; it has also blurred the notion of sovereign property when it comes to technological development—namely what, exactly, constitutes an Israeli or U.