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By Bruce Sussman
Mon | May 6, 2019 | 7:20 AM PDT

The building in red was reportedly the cyber headquarters for Hamas. 

Israeli forces blew it up with bombs over the weekend.hamas-cyber-hq-IDF-image

Israel says it answered a cyber attack with both cyber defense and then bombs dropped from the air:

israel-idf-cyber-attack"After dealing with the cyber dimension, the Air Force dealt with it in the physical dimension," said IDF spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manlis. "At this point in time, Hamas has no cyber operational capabilities."

And a ZDNet report shared the actual air attack on the Hamas cyber forces:


The offensive was part of a weekend of brutal fighting between Hamas in Gaza and Israel, which the Israel Defense Forces tallied like this: 


When will cyberwar be treated like 'regular' war?

The physical bombing of cyber operatives is shining new light on a question many in cybersecurity have been asking for awhile: when could cyber war be treated like "regular" physical war?

NATO made a key statement about this in 2016:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has officially announced that "cyber" will become an official battleground for its members, which means that cyber-attacks on one country will trigger a collective military response from the entire alliance.

And SecureWorld reported a few months ago about a perspective on this topic by the World Economic Forum. Cyber attacks are bringing physical consequences:

"A worrying indicator is the barrage of cyber attacks to which Ukraine has been subjected since 2014, giving rise to suspicions that Russia is using Ukraine as a test-bed for disruptive attacks of ever greater sophistication, such as CrashOverride, an autonomous exploit designed to enable the remote closing down of electricity-generation systems.

Physical damage arising from activities initiated in the cyber domain is already a reality. Fatalities, at the very least as a second-order consequence of persistent and large-scale digital disruption, may not be far behind."

How will countries respond to cyber attacks which lead to citizens being killed? Will it be with a traditional military measures?

You can read more about this in our story, Cyber War vs. Traditional War: The Difference Is Fading.

And with the Israeli airstrike on Hamas cyber operations, it appears the distinction may have already faded.