Short Bytes: Unit 8200, a part of the Israeli Intelligence Corps, is known to produce founders of some of the popular cyber security companies in the world. Young people who join the Unit are exposed to real life missions of computer hacking and cyber espionage.Israel, the country having some of the world’s most advanced military forces and weaponry – has also marked its footprint as a big cyber power on the likes of the US, China, Russia, etc.
The secretive Stuxnet worm – claimed made in collaboration with the US to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program – is one of the best examples of what the Israeli cyber army could do.
But where’s the wellspring from where the country brings all of these cyber guys to do hacking and cyber espionage? It is the Unit 8200 – a component of the Israeli Intelligence Corps. Its operation is similar to the National Security Agency, a part of the US Department of Justice. Unit 8200 is actually the production machine which turns wannabe cyber expert into an actual one.
A teenager who gets past the secret recruitment process is allowed to deal with some real stuff. It involves cracking down systems on their own which can benefit their country with some confidential data.
Unit 8200 exists since the 1950s and has been underground most of the time. Its main task is to collect signal intelligence (SIGINT) data which involves intercepting communication signals. The signals can be the voice exchange between two people or electronic signals used to sent data. However, much of what people know about Unit 8200 is it’s a Startup Machine for Israel.
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Many of the 8200 alumni have turned into reputed cybersecurity experts and founded some of the leading IT security companies including Check Point, NSO Group, Cellebrite, etc. Not only security, Wix is a website building platform founded by a Unit 8200 alumnus Avishai Abrahami. Many other have sold their startups to the big fishes and earned millions or even billions of dollars.
Here is a Viceland video which gives some idea about the kids do at Unit 8200:
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With the inputs from Motherboard