Cyber warfare: The next front in the Israel-Gaza conflict?


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich, is sounding the alarm that that cyber warfare could be the next front in the conflict between Israel and Hamas as nations allied with the Gaza-based militants look for non-military ways to aid their cause.

It’s a possibility Rogers says could widen the deep and destructive conflict even further.

On CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, Rogers warned that in addition to rocket attacks from Hamas on Israel, “now we have nation states engaged in the region in cyber conflict that could cause this to escalate in a way that is very, very dangerous for stability.”

In a follow-up interview with CBS News, Rogers did not name the specific nation-state he was referring to. But he did say that they have already begun engaging in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which are designed to debilitate Israeli websites. If those attacks escalate, he said, “What consequences that might have are still not known.”

“It shows you know that cyber disruption and terrorist type activities are on the rise and they can attack anywhere, any country at any time and it certainly gave real pause and concern for me,” he said.

“So far I think Israel has done a great job of defending from these cyber attacks but the sheer volume and intensity as it grows could spread from what is a conflict between Israel and Gaza to some cyber effort to try to shut these operations down and that’s always a concern.”

Although Rogers won’t point the finger at any particular country in the region, the most likely possibility is Iran, which experts say has already begun building its cyber warfare capabilities.

U.S. officials pointed to Iran as the source of a 2012 cyber attack on Saudi Arabian national oil company Aramco that infected as many as 30,000 computers..

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