Israel and military intelligence: What is unit 8200 based in Negev Desert about?
The small country of Israel has firmly established itself as a startup hub. In October alone, Israeli start-ups raised $800 million reaching a record $6.94 billion since the beginning of the year. Nearly a third of it was raised by tech start-ups alone.
Cyber intelligence and surveillance are the flagship fields for start-ups. The cybersecurity firm Cybereason struck the largest deal so far, raking in $200 million.
The cybersecurity world is not only about spying and hacking into people’s phones. Bosco app uses hacking to access the phone of one’s children to monitor their behaviour.
Protecting privacy and rights
The cybersecurity industry also has a fundamental role in protecting the privacy and rights of users. Just like cyber attacks, there are also cyber defences. For instance, the Israeli hi-tech company called 'checkpoint' exposed the Egyptian spy agency and the general intelligence service for illegally violating the phones of political dissidents to spy on them, whereby users were tricked with fake apps and then hacked.
Egypt's clampdown on expression: A dangerous eventuality?
"Once again, we remind the Egyptian government that under international law people have a right to protest peacefully, and a right to express their opinions, including on social media. they should never be arrested, detained, let alone charged with serious offences such as terrorism, simply for exercising those rights", said Ravina Shamdasani, the spokeswoman for United Nations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Most tech-savvy army
It is not only the private sector to thrive when it comes to cybersecurity. The Israeli Army is well known for being one of the most technologically advanced forces in the world.
The most tech-savvy and fast learning recruits aged between 18 -21 are assigned to the Unit 8200, a branch of the military intelligence tasked with cyber operations. Several of its alumni, once their military service was over, founded some of the most prominent and richest Israeli companies, NSO being one of them. Some alumni even ended up working in a company named ''dark-matter'' based in Cyprus but owned by the UAE.
Base in Negev Desert
The unit 8200 runs extremely sophisticated software capable of tapping almost everything. Its centre is in the Negev Desert is so advanced that media reports say that they can virtually hear and record conversations all across West Asia and provides the government with almost one-third of all intelligence.