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Israel Ramps Up Its Cyberdefense Training

A government bureau recruits teen computer whizzes to fend off thousands of attacks
Israel Ramps Up Its Cyberdefense Training
Photo illustration by 731; Photos: getty images (2)

Twice a week about 200 Israeli high school students in seven separate locations meet after school for six hours of extra classes. The students ace two exams to qualify for the extra tutelage, which is taught by veterans of the Israel Defense Forces and overseen by an officer on active duty. The students call themselves the magshimistim—the high achievers—and they are the vanguard of what the government hopes will be thousands of high school students trained to become the best cyberwarriors in the world.

Israel already wages cyberwar without end. Its government networks are among the most highly attacked anywhere, with daily assaults numbering in the tens of thousands, the Soufan Group, a New York-based security adviser, said in a Jan. 14 report. In November civilian computer technicians deflected millions of attempted attacks on Israeli government websites as the country’s air force struck the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and rockets hit Israel’s towns and cities.