Unit 8200

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Group.png Unit 8200  
(Intelligence agencyHistory Commons PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
8200 IDF insignia.png
Formation2004
Parent organizationIsrael/Defense Forces
HeadquartersCamp Glilot, Israel
LeaderUnit 8200/Commander
SubpageUnit 8200/Commander
An Israeli NSA

Unit 8200 is the Israeli military intelligence division, with responsibility for signal intelligence and code deciphering, but also other missions. Its importance is shown by the fact that it is the largest unit in the Israeli Defence Forces.[1]

Peter Roberts, senior research fellow at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, characterized the unit as “probably the foremost technical intelligence agency in the world and stand[ing] on a par with the NSA in everything except scale.”[2]

Israel's high-tech world is "flooded" with Unit alumni

Unit 8200, whose “alumni” (90% of works there 5 years or less[3]) often go on to create tech companies that frequently maintain their ties to Israeli intelligence and, according to Israeli media reports and former employees, often “blur the line” between their service to Israel’s defense/intelligence apparatus and their commercial activity.[4]

The Israeli media outlet Calcalist Tech published an article[5] which noted that “since 2012, cyber-related and intelligence projects that were previously carried out in-house in the Israeli military and Israel’s main intelligence arms are transferred to companies that in some cases were built for this exact purpose.”

The article noted that "in some cases, managers of development projects in the Israeli military and intelligence arms were encouraged to form their own companies, which then took over the project,’ an Israeli venture capitalist familiar with the matter told Calcalist Tech.”

This switch was related to the difference in wages between the private sector and the public sector, but also the founding of Start-Up Nation Central (SUNC)[6], a deliberate Israeli government effort to counter the nonviolent Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) movement and to make Israel the dominant global “cyber power.”

Companies with Close Ties to the Unit

A Forbes article by Former Unit 8200 member Gil Kerbs, stated that "Israel's high-tech world is "flooded" with Unit alumni, as entrepreneurs and company founders or junior and senior executives."[7]

“Take Nice, Comverse and Check Point for example, three of the largest high-tech companies, which were all directly influenced by 8200 technology, "Check Point was founded by Unit alumni. Comverse's main product, the Logger, is based on the Unit's technology. Look at Metacafe, one of the hottest companies today. Eyal Herzog, one of the founders, is also an 8200 alumnus and he accumulated a huge amount of relevant experience in the Unit.”
Hanan Gefen (8 February 2007)  [8]

Other companies include Carbyne911, which develops call-handling and identification capabilities for emergency response services in countries around the world, including the United States, where it has already been implemented in several U.S. counties and has partnered with major U.S. tech companies like Google. Carbyne will possibly have access to the data used by all emergency service providers and devices connected to those networks.[9]

The private security agency Black Cube, with Unit 8200 alumni as leaders[10], is known to have two separate divisions for corporations and governments. The firm was caught[11] attempting to undermine the Iran nuclear deal — then also a top political objective of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — by attempting to obtain information on the “financial or sexual impropriety” (i.e., blackmail) of top U.S. officials involved in drafting the accord.

In 2019, the private U.S.-based, Israeli-founded company Cybereason ran the Operation Blackout exercise simulating sabotage of civilian infrastructure, "terrorism" and psychological operations against American citizens on the day of the US 2020 Election.

Cooperation with the National Security Agency

The US National Security Agency and Unit 8200 have collaborated on numerous projects, most infamously on the Stuxnet virus[12] as well as the Duqu malware[13]. In addition, the NSA is known to work with veterans of Unit 8200 in the private sector, such as when the NSA hired two Israeli companies[14], to create backdoors into all the major U.S. telecommunications systems and major tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft and Google. Many of the key managers and executives in these companies are now former Unit 8200 officers.

Most important SIGINT base

Arguably the the unit's most important and powerful SIGINT base is located near the village of Urim in the Negev desert Map. This from Nicky Hager:

Israel’s most important intelligence-gathering installation is only a 30km drive into the Negev desert from Beersheba prison – where those taking part in the Gaza aid flotilla were briefly detained this June. The base has rows of satellite dishes that covertly intercept phone calls, emails and other communications from the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Asia. Its antennas monitor shipping and would have spied on the aid ships in the days before they were seized. [15]

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Unit 8200 SIGINT base near Urim

The unit also has listening posts on the Occupied Syrian Golan Heights, but they are focused almost exclusively on Syrian, Lebanese and Iranian signals interception.

People

Commanders


 

Related Quotation

PageQuoteAuthorDate
Nicole Junkermann
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