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To avoid cyber attacks, Israel urged to manually count election results

July 14, 2017 at 10:41 am

Voting booth is seen during the election period in Israel [PROHeinrich-Böll-Stiftung/Flickr]

Israel’s National Cyber Authority is expected to recommend the manual counting of votes in future elections in order to prevent cyber attacks “following recent attempts to meddle with elections in the West,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported yesterday.

Formed 18 months ago, the authority is working on a “defence plan” against possible meddling in Israeli elections through cyber attacks similar to what recently took place in the United States, France and Ukraine.

The plan will recommend that votes continue to be counted manually in Israel, as they always have, even if this is an “outdated method”.

“However,” Haaretz noted, “other aspects of the election campaign and preparations for Election Day are also exposed to cyber attacks and need protection.”

Citing cyber experts, the paper reports that Israel is aware that there are countries and groups that seek to disrupt Israeli elections, and there is a “growing risk” they might succeed in their endeavour.

“The cyber authority will coordinate its defence preparations with the Central Election Committee and guide parties and logistics organisations associated with the elections on how to identify and protect themselves from cyber penetrations,” Haaretz said.

It had reported on Sunday that Israeli Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot  warned that hackers could possibly attempt to launch cyber attacks on Israel’s electoral system in addition to infrastructure, hospitals and power facilities. He added, according to Haaretz, that the occupation’s army cannot get involved in such attacks because its primary focus is on military systems.

In 2013, a hacking group named Anonymous launched cyber attacks on key Israeli websites, which resulted in major losses.