March 24, 2016
The Gaza strip is one of the poorest and most densely populated places on earth. Its eastern border is closed and heavily patrolled by Israeli soldiers. Its southern border is closed and heavily patrolled by Egyptian soldiers. On its northern and western sides, Gaza is bordering the Mediterranean Sea, which is pretty much blocked by the Israeli navy. Israeli drones, hot air balloons, and aircraft are constantly watching it from above. It is done in attempt to stop terrorist attacks against civilians. Much of Gaza Strip’s supply comes through the Israeli side after it is carefully checked to prevent the smuggling of military supplies into the strip. The rest of Gaza’s supply is smuggled through tunnels that are dug under the Egyptian border.
Israel is a technological superpower. Israelis invented the PillCam – the first pill that can be swallowed to record images of the digestive tract, the USB flash drive., Viber, the app that allows you to make calls across the world for free, Pentium and Celeron computer processor chips,… the list is long. Gaza has no industry except for bombs and rocket factories. The Gazan-Israeli technological gap is similar to the technological gap between France and Algeria, Italy and Libya, Germany and Syria, or England and Iraq.
For these reasons, it is unimaginable that a person who lives in the Gaza Strip and has limited access to almost anything could technologically outsmart the mighty Israeli army. Yet, this is exactly what happened: YNET (Israel ‘s largest online newspaper) in an article published on March 23rd, 2016, and titled “IDF’s cyber defense easily breached” is about an indictment of an Islamic Jihad operative Majd Ouida , an electrical engineer in his profession, who hacked into Israel’s military drones communication system and used it to collect sensitive real-time information.
According to the indictment filed against the suspect, Majd Ouida was asked by the Islamic Jihad in 2012 to hack into the IDF’s network of drones in operation above the Gaza Strip. He purchased the requisite equipment from dealers in the United States and created a computer program that could intercept the broadcast feed. His success allowed his handlers to view in real time the footage captured by the IDF drone. His handlers were able to see what Israeli military commanders were observing in real time, including during military operations against them.
Majd Ouida also succeeded in accessing footage from highway cameras inside Israel, obtaining for his organization information on the movement of Israeli security forces and civilians during wars in the Strip and rocket strikes. Further, Majd Ouida developed an application that compiled information on the movement of planes at Israel’s Ben Gurion international airport, as well as gaining access to passenger manifestos, plane weights and makes, and takeoff and landing times. Majd Ouida was arrested on February 23, 2016 when he left the Gaza Strip in order to meet with prospective talents for the Palestinian equivalent of American Idol, of which he was an organizer.
Sometimes we think of terrorists as an unsophisticated ignorant group of people, only capable of building primitive bombs and exploding themselves in public places in hope to end up in heaven surrounded by beautiful virgins.
Its is true for many, but not all: If a terrorist organization was able to track civilian planes in Israeli airspace, one of the most guarded air spaces in the world, terrorists can certainly do that in many other countries. If a terrorist organization was able to acquire the passengers manifests of Israeli planes, a country that is the world leader in air travel security, it is likely that they can do the same thing everywhere else. If a terrorist organization was able to view Israeli trafic patterns during rush hour and potentially plan their attacks accordingly, it is fair to assume that they can do it in other countries, places where people do not keep their guards up as Israelis do.
If a terrorist organization in a poor and isolated place like the Gaza Strip was able to acquire access to Israel’s secrets, how much access to NATO’s secrets Iranian terrorists have ?