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IATI - Israel Advanced Technology Industries
IATI - Israel Advanced Technology Industries
IATI News & Events Daily Industry News Unit 8200 and Israel's high-tech whiz kids

Unit 8200 and Israel's high-tech whiz kids

Jun. 6, 2012

Israel's highly secretive Unit 8200 of Military Intelligence is increasingly seen to have played a leading role with the United States in developing a powerful new cyberweapon known as W32.Flame that attacked Iran's oil industry in April.

Veterans of the unit, the equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, have in recent years been at the cutting edge of building Israel's formidable high-tech sector into what the Financial Times calls a “global technology powerhouse.”

Indeed, the proliferation of Unit 8200 alumni across the spectrum of Israel's high-tech industry suggests that they probably run it and that there are strong security links between the unit and civilian high-tech outfits.

Israel's high-tech exports are estimated to be worth $18.4 billion a year, comprising more than 45 percent of the Jewish state's exports, Central Bureau of Statistics data indicate.

Unit 8200 whiz kids have founded scores of high-tech start-ups in recent years.

Gil Schwed, reputed to be one of Israel's youngest billionaires, launched CheckPoint, one of the country's leading high-techs with major dealings in the United States.

The Zisapel brothers, Yehuda and Zonhar, sold and floated a dozen companies for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Yossi Vardi, who founded Israel's first software company in 1969, observed, “More high-tech billionaires were created from Unit 8200 than from any business school in the country.”

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