Homeland Security Monitor March 2016

Homeland Security Monitor
March 2016

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (center right) hosts an honor cordon welcoming Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon (center left) to the Pentagon (Photo: DoD).

NSA Director Visits Israel to Deepen Bilateral Cyber Cooperation

National Security Agency (NSA) Director Adm. Michael Rogers visited Israel the week of March 20, to pursue closer cyber cooperation with the Israel's elite Intelligence Corps Unit 8200, reports Haaretz. Adm. Rogers also leads the U.S. Army Cyber Command. Among the topics discussed during the visit was the threat of cyberattacks from Iran and Hezbollah. A few days prior to the visit, the U.S. Justice Department filed indictments against a group of Iranian hackers on charges of carrying out cyberattacks on U.S. banks and critical infrastructure.

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Carter and Ya’alon Pledge Increased U.S.-Israel Ties in Cybersecurity

On March 14, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon agreed to increase U.S-Israel cooperation in the cyber domain, reports the U.S. Department of Defense. During the meeting, Secretary Carter reaffirmed the “unshakeable” U.S. commitment to Israel’s security and the importance of the U.S.-Israeli defense relationship. The meeting closely followed Defense Minister Ya’alon’s October 2015 trip to Washington when the two defense leaders discussed ways to bolster cooperation in a variety of areas.

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United States Indicts Iranians in Cyberattacks

On March 24, the U.S. Department of Justice unveiled an indictment against seven Iranian computer specialists, charging them with carrying out cyberattacks on dozens of American banks and attempting to seize control of a New York dam, reports The New York Times. The hackers “performed work on behalf of the Iranian government, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” the indictment read. The attacks temporarily paralyzed affected banks and prevented customers from accessing online banking.

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Islamic State Said to Aim Cyber ‘Second Strike’ Against Terror Targets

Terrorist attacks are often followed by major cyberattacks on the targeted country, according to data gathered by Israeli cybersecurity firm Cytegic, reports The Times of Israel. Cytegic researchers discovered that the cyberattacks peak approximately four days after each terrorist attack and target major segments of the economy. According to Cytegic, the cyber patterns were similar in the aftermath of both the November 2015 Paris attacks and the March 22 Brussels attacks.

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