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Israel's ministry of defence contacted American hackers to make 'zero-day' viruses for its cyber war Open in fullscreen

Karim Traboulsi

Israel's ministry of defence contacted American hackers to make 'zero-day' viruses for its cyber war

[AFP]

Date of publication: 5 March, 2018

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Israel's ministry of defence made overtures to several US-based hackers, expressing interest in so-called 'zero-day' attacks for possible use in covert operations against its foes.
Israel's ministry of defence made overtures to several US-based hackers expressing interest in so-called "zero-day" attacks for possible use in covert operations against its foes, it was revealed last week.

Vice Motherboard said it obtained a copy of the "unusual" February 2015 letter sent by Israel to US-based researchers and firms who develop zero-day tools.

"The Government of Israel Ministry of Defense (GOI­-MOD) is interested in advanced Vulnerabilities R&D and zero-­day exploits for use by its law enforcement and security agencies for a wide variety of target platforms and technologies," reads the letter, which Motherboard said was sent by an employee of the Israeli consulate in New York.

Sources in the firms contacted by Tel Aviv described the request as unusual, bizarre and blunt.

Israeli officials declined to comment on the contents of the letter.

Zero-day exploits are vulnerabilities in software that are not known to the developers or the public. They can be used to install spyware and malware that could remain active for months or years until the vulnerabilities are discovered and addressed.

Israel's spy services are known to use cyber warfare and electronic suverillance extensively, and are thought to have been behind hacking attacks against Iran's nuclear programme using the virus 'Stuxnet' and also to assist Arab authoritarian regimes to spy on dissidents.

The revelation comes amid an escalating cyber-war and electronic suveillance campaign in the region that has implicated Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and even Lebanon as well as Israel.

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