Tel Aviv (dpa) - Israel admitted Sunday that it uses cyberspace to attack its enemies.
The confession came in a statement on the Israeli military's website.
The website said it was "for the first time" revealing a document recently written by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Operations Department, detailing the goals and methods of its cyberwarfare.
"The IDF has been engaged in cyberactivity consistently and relentlessly," said the statement.
It said it had been using cyberspace for intelligence gathering and "will" also use it "to execute attacks" and "clandestine" operations.
Cyberactivity would also be used to maintain Israel's military edge over its enemies, and to curtail their military capabilities.
Another goal was "thwarting and disrupting enemy projects" targeting the Israeli military and government.
The statement comes less than a week after one of the world's top virus-hunting agencies said it discovered a virus codenamed Flame on computers in Iran and several Middle East countries.
The Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab said the virus appeared to be a cyberweapon whose complexity and functionality exceeded "those of all other cybermenaces known to date."
It was designed to carry out cyberespionage by stealing images, audio conversations and other data, and had been in use for more than two years without being noticed.
Flame targets computers running the Windows operating system and apparently spreads through infected thumb drives, websites and manipulated emails.
Kaspersky Lab said most infections (189) were found in Iran, and, although other infections (98) were also found in Israel and the Palestinian territories, its sophistication has triggered media speculation that it was created by Israel.
Although no one has yet claimed responsibility for creating Flame, Iran was quick to criticize Israel last Tuesday.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the virus was "not important." He then added, "There are illegitimate governments which have nothing better to do than spread viruses to harm other nations."
Kaspersky Lab compared Flame to Duqu and Stuxnet, two other virus programmes that targeted Iran. There has also been speculation that Israel was behind Stuxnet, a worm that infiltrated industrial systems of the German company Siemens, apparently to disrupt uranium enrichment in Iran. dpa chd ok ncs Author: Ofira Koopmans
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