Cyberwarfare could cease to be a terrain explored only by national states. According to system audit specialists, the Israeli government has decided to be more flexible about exporting large-capacity cyber weapons, regardless of the consequences this decision generates among its allies and adversaries.
This stems from a change in Ministry of Defense rules, so from now on any company will be able to obtain a license for the commercialization of some sophisticated computer tools in some countries.
Israel is one of the most important nations in the field of arms export and defense software, which it sells to multiple allied nation states. However, system audit experts mention that the policy for the sale of these developments will change the paradigm of cyberwarfare.
For start, changes in the industry would speed up approval processes for the sale of cyber weapons, such as spyware or disruption malware, among other tools. Israel’s Ministry of Defense said the rule change “was done to provide effective service to Israeli industries while maintaining and protecting international export control and oversight standards.”
The ministry also mentions that a marketing license waiver was granted only under “certain conditions related to product safety authorization and assessment of the country to which the product will be marketed” companies still had to have an export license. The Israeli government and companies declined to comment on which states are among those interested in these tools.
In addition, Israel’s Ministry of Economy, primarily responsible for promoting economic growth and exports, is creating a division to handle exports of cyber developments useful for cyber war operations.
Specialists in system audit mention that the advanced development that has shown in the field of cyberwarfare has been driven primarily by the interests of countries such as the United States, Russia, China and, of course, Israel. The difference with the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s decision is that the market could now expand to private institutions or, at worst, to malicious hacker groups, making cyberwarfare a scenario to which virtually anyone would be exposed.
It is worth mentioning that some Israeli companies, such as NSO Group, Verint and Elbit Systems are world leaders in the cyberwar tool market. The main developments of these companies are so-called spywares, which take advantage of vulnerabilities in mobile devices to spy on calls, text messages and other data. Unsurprisingly, some civilian privacy defense organizations consider the Israeli government to make a serious mistake by removing restrictions on the sale of cyber weapons. Amnesty International, for example, says that the elimination of strict measures for the sale of these tools “is an abuse against the human rights of millions of people around the world,” say specialists in system audit of the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS)