BREAKING: Unit 8200 Hackers Investigated for Computer Theft
Ynet reports that two of the most élite cyber war units in the IDF came under suspicion several weeks ago. “Tens” of officers and non-commissioned officers in Unit 8200 (IDF’s SIGINT unit) and AMAN’s Unit 81 (military intelligence’s technology unit) are accused of using their hacking skills to derive “economic benefits” for themselves. The article notes that the hacking of the offenders came at the expense of their fellow soldiers in the Units (see below).
Those investigated have such high security classifications that the IDF military police needed to get special permission to examine their computers.
Because of a security gag order, Ynet could not report the identities of the specific military units involved. But a confidential and knowledgeable Israeli source informs me that they are Units 8200 and 81. Nor did the story explain what crimes they’re alleged to have committed. Based on the term “economic benefit” I assumed it involved conventional computer hacking into commercial or financial sites like banks or stores.
The term hatavah kalkalit can also mean “bonus.” My source has heard a separate speculation more along those lines: that those charged falsified their own personnel data to make themselves eligible for raises or promotions. Either offense would be extremely serious. But falsifying personnel records is much more serious internally to the IDF since it violates army regulations. There is an ethic within the army, false though it may be, that everyone is treated fairly and equally. For there to be widespread fraud within one of the IDF’s most élite units is scandalous beyond belief.
There continues to be a quaint notion that the IDF is egalitarian. That rewards are meted out according to skill and ability. That only the best are rewarded. Anyone reading this blog knows that the IDF is rife with corruption and dysfunction. That not only are many of its strategic decisions suspect, but its day-to-day operations are riddled with nepotism, cronyism and self-dealing. A nation that itself is corrupt should expect the same from its army.
I’ve already reported here the secret identity of Unit 8200’s commander. He’s Brig. Gen. Ehud Schneerson, a distant relative of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I can’t imagine the rebbe would be entirely happy knowing the “army of the Jewish people” was violating one of the Ten Commandments!
11 thoughts on “BREAKING: Unit 8200 Hackers Investigated for Computer Theft – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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It is only natural for a professional hacker to hack for his own gain. In fact, wouldn’t it be borderline professional incompetence if the hackers didn’t hack the pay/grading system for their own gain? A trivial bump of one’s personnel scoring, and viola!
Employers of hackers, civilian and military, should take into account that trivial internal hacking will probably be performed. Comes with job description. It’s about the same as expecting a secretary not to gossip and gather gossip intelligence at the kitchenette.
@ lepxii: You can’t possibly be Israeli or you wouldn’t have written what you have. The IDF image in Israel is one of fairness and purity. No soldier who believes in this ethos would do what these officers have done. Of course reality is different than image. But these soldiers violated basic norms and trampled on the army’s image. For you to excuse this with the basic argument, “boys will be boys,” shows how little you understand the Israeli psyche.
You are little more than a wannabe hasbarist.
I am a cynical post-post-Zionist. I accept many of the post-Zionist claims, yet have come to realize that though some issues were glossed over due to Hasbara (internal first, but also externally… e.g. it was very socially convenient to say “they ran away”) that the decisions facing the Yishuv then and today required hard measures.
As for the army – you’re stuck in the early 80’s. There is a great degree of cynicism regarding the Israeli army and particularly the keva component. This is far beyond a single cynic post-post-Zionist….. Mainstream Israeli media has been running skits on the fat keva army officers for the past…. 5-10 years. There is a wide perception that corruption, pay, and pensions (worth 1-2 Million USD at retirement at age 45, lifelong hightpay) are exaggerated.
[on the slip side the millium and hova are sacrosanct]
See eretz nihaderet (leading MSM skit show) –
@ lepxii: Whatever a post-ZIonist is, you aren’t. You are a Zio-apologist through & through. Post-Zionists don’t defend the Yishuv and Nakba.
As for the IDF, I understand there is great cynicism & have documented here in several reports. But the majority of average Israelis still hold the IDF is high regard and expect much more from it than the average Israeli institution.
Israeli military prisons are full with drug dealer and other common criminals. Ethos has nothing to do with it.
I thought you may consider him a HERO. He was stealing from the army itself which you probably consider a MITZVA.
@Jack Cohen: you are a liar & banned.
Hey, as an Israeli I want to comment on this
Many of the Israeli soldiers and citizens stopped believing in the ethos you are talking about a long time ago. The fairness and purity of the IDF is something they tell us as a soldiers on basic training, they tell it to Taglit kids that are dying to do something cool and go to the IDF, or we hear it on Hasbara.
When you see that the army is so rotten from the inside you stop believing this, The IDF is as corrups as any other israeli institution, and the humen matterial is just bad (and I’m not talking about the Israel-Palestine problem at all).
Specificly the 8200 unit are definitely exspected to be more moral,
What I was basically trying to say you are right, but only about a VERY few elite units in the IDF.
(I hope my English was good enough, I wish I could say it in Hebrew :))
@Anna: your English was terrific as was your message. And you can post in Hebrew as well if you wish, as I & Israeli readers understand it.
Strange! Any society so technologically advanced that it can attack the outside world with leading-edge hackers, can also protect itself with “unhackable” systems. Commercial companies throughout the western world devote considerable effort to protecting their human resource systems from both internal and external attack with rigorous security protocols, the segregation of sensitive data from less sensitive and full audit trails.
So how can this be? Perhaps Israel has believed its own myths about human perfectibility as personified in the IDF elite, and so simply doesn’t bother with elementary precautions, or perhaps short-termism and lack of strategic thinking are endemic in this dysfunctional state. This is a state whose politicians and diplomats repeat the same mistakes time after time, that lacks proper systems to review and learn from bureaucratic and military errors, that refuses to adopt transparency, that insists that when a policy has patently failed the failure was simply in the lack of determination and vigour that was applied, and which constantly disregards its own “rule of law (e.g. ignoring red traffic lights) and international law (e.g. simply assassinating inconvenient opponents). Such a state is bound to fail in so many respects.
“It’s about the same as expecting a secretary not to gossip and gather gossip intelligence at the kitchenette.”
Any other insulting cliche’s on offer?
@Elisabeth: In addition to being a robo-Zio, lepxii is also a misogynist!