back to article Israeli sky-hack switched off Syrian radars countrywide

More rumours are starting to leak out regarding the mysterious Israeli air raid against Syria in September. It is now suggested that "computer to computer" techniques and "air-to-ground network penetration" took place. The latest revelations are made by well-connected Aviation Week journalists. Electronic-warfare correspondent …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    yes but...

    "Backdoors penetrated without violence"

    ...did they 'paint them white on the way out'?


  2. Anonymous Coward

    A bit naive...

    'the Dayr as-Zawr facility (believed to have been a nuclear plant of some kind)'

    do you believe everything you're told by Israeli intelligence at face value?

    Check around, you'll find nobody else thinks this claim is plausible, even the CIA. Try not to mouth the propaganda of foreign intelligence agencies, you're becoming as bad as the mainstream press...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    They want a war with Iran, this was just practise

    Hence the focus groups to get the wording correct:

    They called in people for a focus group session, tried different phrases on them to test which story would be most likely to get them to approve war with Iran. It turned out to be the work of the "Israel Project", with possible the cooperation of the "Freedom Watch".

    "Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, the founder and president of the Israel Project, contacted Mother Jones and said that her group had commissioned the focus group...Mizrahi says that her group and Freedom's Watch share a common interest in "thwarting the threat of Islamic extremism" and in "dealing with the threat of Iran." But Freedom's Watch "in no way is directing our work, and it's not funding our work." She pointed out that the Israel Project is not "involved with Iraq," a major concern of Freedom's Watch. But the two outfits, she said, "shared information" produced by this focus group. She insisted the focus group was designed to help the Israel Project promote "our belief in pushing sanctions." She added, "We're working day and night to persuade people the options [concerning Iran] are very limited. We're pushing really aggressively on the economic and diplomatic fronts."

  4. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    RE: A bit naive....

    Yes, of course, it was Assad's personal pr0n stash, that's really what the Israelis hit! And all because they have a sneaky Zionist plan to reduce Assad to such a frothing state of pent up sexual frustration that he'll just sign over the Golan Heights in return for a copy of the Pamela Andersen October '89 cover issue of Playboy.

    Yeah, right.....

    Still find the airborne hax angle a bit much to swallow, but the idea of a hard hack into the cable network is certainly possible.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never mind the backdoors

    have you seen the bollocks on that frog.

  6. Ross


    It's easy to forget how rife propaganda and misinformation is in warfare. Think of the ol' "carrots help the RAF see in the dark" stories etc.

    Whilst Israel may (with the help of the USA) have perpetrated various network attacks, it may also be a ruse. The only evidence we seem to have that planes were used is a dumped fuel container on the Turkish border which may have been there a while, or possibly lied about.

    Israel may have gotten itself a new midrange low profile missile, or stealth aircraft etc. By telling porkies about how you blew up some building or other you force your opponents to spend lots of money and resources on "fixing" that hole in their armour (i.e. network security), instead of looking at the actual problem.

    Either way, for the time being Israel looks like it can act with impunity against Syria - look out for talk of talks between the two states. Israel will be wanting to push its advantage whilst it can. Syria will desperately be trying to figure out what the hell happened.

  7. John Dallman
    Thumb Down

    A remote hack would be reserved for something serious

    If the Israelis had a plausible remote hack into Syria's air defense network, then they'd only use it in a very serious situation. The chances of it working a second time are quite a bit lower. So if they did it, they must have considered that site they bombed to be the key to a getting rid of a major threat. In which case, wouldn't there have been more news about it? Overall, it seems about equally likely that somone pushed the wrong shutdown button on the ground.

  8. Jerry H. Appel

    On face value

    Let's assume that the story is credible. What happens to a networked air defense system when one site goes down? That's right, the systems must adjust and talk to the other systems which may have to adjust their coverage to fill the gap, turn on their radars to test them, verify the coverage, and it is during this time period when the system is communicating all over the network that it becomes more vulnerable. Let's not forget that this site in northern Syria on the Turkish border could easily have been taken out by a 'special operation' on the ground; especially, with the Turks preoccupied with the Kurds in Iraq.

  9. Eileen Bach


    I heard down the Nags Head that they used a Del Trotters cordless phone to do the job.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hu Hu, Heh Heh...

    Backdoors penetrated, without violence. Huh, Huh, Heh, Heh



    A small serious point, though - if they had bombed the shit out of a nuclear facility, surely there would have been airborne particulates being detected all over the region.

  11. Rogan Paneer

    Hang on ...

    Another leak on the Israeli air raid on Syria- another leak that doesn't quite fit with all the other leaked information. So now it's claimed that the aircraft came in after a radar station on the Syria-Turkey border was knocked out by bombing- this is now additional to the bombing of the actual target. Curious that no-one from either side has mentioned this til now, and particularly that Syria has not mentioned it, when it would be quite legitimate to complain about an attack on a radar station, irrespective of what the attack on the 'Box on the Euphrates' was all about.

    Whatever the USA/Israelis went in looking for, it's increasingly clear that they didn't find it, otherwise they wouldn't have to keep releasing snippets supposed to demonstrate how awfully clever they are- they could have just taken the evidence of something really nasty to the UN and demanded instant action against Syria (and some strategic bombing of Iran for afters).

    First, this was claimed to be a remote top secret recently constructed facility, then it turns out it's been there since 2003. see Google Earth 39.833long 35.707lat. Remote? a couple of km from a popular archaeological site. Secret? where's the boundary fence?

    Something fancy might have been done to compromise the Syrian radar system, but it still looks as if these leaks are a ploy to distract attention from the central issue, that the raid turned up nothing of substance.

    What was that old motto in Star Trek about keeping your lies consistent?

  12. Sergei Andropov
    Thumb Down

    You guys have already reported on this.

    Here, to be specific:

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "...That said, special forces were doing missions to cut fibre lines as long ago as 1991 in order to compel the Iraqis to use easily-intercepted radio. There are rumours nowadays that certain teams specialise in attaching equipment to cable links rather than just cutting them..."

    As long ago as 1991? Really, then all that special forces and the resistence blowing up telephone lines in the 2nd world war was to force the Germans to do what exactly?

    Enigma was pretty good, even better if you used little or no radio transmission. Same with Lorenz. Very hard to crack if you have a very small ammount of intercepts. In fact I suspect this sort of thing has been going on for as long as there has been radio, because it's inherantly less secure to let your enemy have your message, encoded or not. Same with monitoring wired connections by attaching 'equipment'.

  14. Risky


    If you'd been attacked as many times as Israel has in it's short existence, you might think that maybe a nuclear Syria wouldn't be great.

    Of course if the kit was on it's way to Iran you'd be more like petrified given that loony's world-view.

  15. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    RE: Sergei Andropov

    There has recently been a number of articles regarding new information/speculation around the affair, which has stirred up comment on the web, and I suspect led to the second article. In particular, there is a bit of an alarmist article in the Spectator claiming that day took us very close to World War 3, but does give some info on how the Israelis tracked the shipment from North Korea.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe, just maybe

    They used checkpoint FW-1 - early edition ;o). That said if you shine a laser into a camera ens it blocks its vision. So doing the same approach to the radar would not only render it useless, but depending on how its process the data and the radio equipment could potentual overload it shall we say or give cause to turn it off.

    If only they had a good GSM mobile network in the country - would of been a neat backup. But hey i dont care as sounds like they stopped them doing bad things and thats good isn't it.

    I often do wonder if the we took the same approach too World politics as we do sport would we kill anybody who didn't finish in the first 3! You do have to wonder that. Still how many firewall products orginated from israel that have back-doors in, then wonder how many other products have them, then wonder why we even bother with front doors :).

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Israeli sky-hack switched off Syrian radars countrywide

    It sounds improbable.

    If the interconnecting links to the sites were lost then I would have expected the radar stations to operate independently with perhaps a fighter controller locally though the UHF ground to air comms might be jammed.

    "It appears that the Syrians rely on HF and VHF radio for at least some of their anti-air comms/data links"

    It seems unlikely that they use HF or even VHF for data links but it is quite likely they use HF for ground to air comms though more likely UHF. The RAF also use UHF and HF so nothing unusual about that and the USAF still use VHF as well.

    If the whole network was jammed or something I would have expected the radar sites to continue transmitting even if not usable. Dr R V Jones did that during WWII when the Germans jammed radar on Malta (I think), they continued transmitting and the Germans eventually decided that the jamming was not working and stopped. Turning off the radar just confirms to your enemy that his jamming or other action has worked.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    the US sensors in the region (or the receiving system) went wrong and failed to detect the radars were still working

    or maybe it was just routine were lizards and MIB operations :p

  19. GettinSadda
    Black Helicopters

    Totally speculating...


    I wonder where those Syrian radar systems were built, and who installed them?

    Good bet that the US and UK were involved (or if not then some very close allies)

    Now, what chance is there that these systems have a secret "shut-down" code hidden in them that could be given to our bestest buddies if they asked nicely?

  20. Kwac
    Thumb Down


    If I sling some poor sod out of their house are the neighbours going to stand by when I start picking fights with them?

    Israel was created by a war NOT by the UN. Britain reneged on promises to both Jews and Palestinians then sodded off leaving them to get on with it.

  21. Mad Mike

    By Kwac

    'If I sling some poor sod out of their house are the neighbours going to stand by when I start picking fights with them?

    Israel was created by a war NOT by the UN. Britain reneged on promises to both Jews and Palestinians then sodded off leaving them to get on with it.'

    Unfortunately, not true. The land (original borders) was called Palestine and was a protectorate given to the UK to administer. The Jews carried out a guerilla war against the UK until they pulled out. At this point, it was still the protectorate of Palestine. However, the UN then accepted the creation of a country called Israel. Therefore, the UN did create the country as until the UN agreed it, the country didn't exist, just the protectorate!!

  22. Tom Chiverton

    Dunno about you...

    Dunno about you... but if one of my SAM radar sites had just be taken out by an anti-radar missile, I would shut down all my other sites as a precaution. It's what Iraq did when they still had any AA capability.

  23. sconzey


    I think what speaks louder than any commentary on this is that neither Israel *NOR* Syria want to talk about it...

    This means that whatever attack happened, Israel don't want people thinking they sanctioned it, but Syria think it could be justified...

    That said, geopolitically I find Saudi Arabia *much* scarier than Syria...

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