“I-Defense”, the Cyber Defense Division’s annual competition was held this week for the seventh time and led by “Ofek”, the IAF’s software Unit. Among the participants were representatives of Israeli Hi-Tech companies and Foreign military representatives

Tal Giladi | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida

“I-Defense”, the Cyber Defense Division’s annual competition led by “Ofek”, the IAF’s software unit, was held yesterday in Tel-Aviv. What began seven years ago as an internal competition for programmers from the “Ofek” Unit, has become a significant, large-scale event in the Cyber field in the IDF. Besides soldiers and officers from the IAF, Navy and Computer Service Directorate, civilians from governmental entities and Israeli Hi-Tech companies such as “Check Point” and “Phoenix Investments” also participated in the competition alongside foreign servicemen and women from cyber defense teams from the U.S, French and Spanish armed forces.

Why did IAF Cyber Teams Fight Disney?

The Cyber Defense Division’s annual competition was held yesterday in Tel-Aviv

What does Disney Have to with Cyber?
Over 100 people sat in the large hall, all organized in trios and vigorously typing on their laptops. However, what an outside spectator couldn’t tell is that a real drama was in progress inside the computers. According to the plot that accompanied the scenarios, the movie giant “Disney” stole the copyright for the “Star Wars” movie and the mission of the participants was to quickly acquire the movie scripts. A large screen was positioned before them and showed the teams’ points in real-time.

“The event has two goals, one is to place the contenders, who are usually responsible for protecting the systems from cyber-attacks, in the shoes of the attackers and familiarize them with the other side’s thinking patterns. The expectation is that after they return to their units, the contenders will be able to provide stronger and smarter protection”, explained Maj. Gil, Head of the Cyber Department in the “Ofek” Unit. “The second goal is to provide a great platform to improve our cooperation with other cyber oriented bodies in the IDF and create mutual fertilization”.

In the afternoon, the leading team was the hosting “Ofek’s” Monitoring and Investigation Team. “There are three paths of challenges from the cyber world that rise in difficulty as the day goes on. The challenges could be hacking into websites or servers and receiving information which takes them to the next level of the competition”, explained Maj. Gil.

In and Outside of the IDF
There is a cyber-defense entity in almost every force in the IDF which is responsible for monitoring, investigating and preventing cyber incidents. In this competition, the background for the event is not operational and the challenges the teams deal with are known outside too. Cracking a confirmation code for an Email account and hacking and crosschecking servers while one has the security questions and the other has the answers, are some of the missions known to all. “Cyber is cyber and many dilemmas in the civilian field are identical to the dilemmas the IDF deals with, which is why representatives of civilian companies need to be a part of this”, added Maj, Gil.

Why did IAF Cyber Teams Fight Disney?

“The event’s goal is to place the contenders, who are usually responsible for protecting the systems from cyber-attacks, in the shoes of the attackers” | Archive Photo