QUALCOMM CEO Paul Jacobs 370.
(photo credit: Niv Elis)
Chinese hackers constantly attack Qualcomm and have broken into its networks in
the past, visiting CEO Paul Jacobs said Tuesday.
“If there’s going to be
state-sponsored hacking, then the amount of resources that we can put up against
it are probably insufficient,” he told reporters at Qualcomm’s IQ2013
convention, being held in Tel Aviv for the first time.
Though the Israeli
government is taking the right steps to combat the cyber attacks meant to steal
proprietary information or, worse, gain access to technology for use in cyber
warfare, governments can do more to build defenses. One avenue, Jacobs said, is
to create a clearinghouse for companies to share information on cyber attacks,
though doing so may require softening privacy laws. Existing regulation blocks
companies from being able to check from which server cyber attacks originate, he
The competing issues of privacy and security are rife in the
technological future Qualcomm is pursuing.
The chipmaker’s guiding light
is a concept called the “Internet of Everything,” in which every day, ordinary
devices will be upgraded to communicate with each other and with their users.
Whether it be the dryer sending you a notification on your television when your
clothes are ready, or your car letting passengers play music from their phones
when they get in, the creation of a hyperconnected future carries both awesome
uses and dangerous vulnerabilities.
From a privacy perspective, more
integration simply means more devices recording where you go, who you see, what
you do and what you buy. From a personal security point of view, however, it
also means new multitudes of entry points for hackers.
And from a
national security point of view, it could mean that enemies abroad have ways to
shut down entire systems.
The trend of malware is already heading toward
the mobile sector and is expected to grow in the future, according to security
“It’s a cat-and-mouse game,” Jacobs said. “In the
current generation of cyber defense, probably the best thing we can do from the
standpoint of our business is to innovate as best we can.”
To that end,
Qualcomm is growing its security-related work in Israel.
an area with a lot of demand for talent,” Jacobs said.
investment in the country goes far beyond security as well. It has snatched up a
variety of Israeli technology companies, including iSkoot, DesignArt and EPOS.
It has an active investment fund that has supported, among other ventures, the
blockbuster crowd-sourcing traffic app Waze. Facebook is reportedly in
late-stage talks to buy Waze for as much as a billion dollars. Qualcomm’s main
development center in Haifa is one of four in Israel.
“We’re going to
continue to grow,” Jacobs said. In fact, he said, Israel has enough assets that
it can afford to get away with the recent increases in corporate taxes and
proposed amendments to the Law for the Encouragement of Capital
“Countries can get away with charging premium tax rates if
there’s a reason,” Jacobs said. “In Israel, there’s certainly rule of law,
talent, critical mass, mind-set. All the reasons why it’s startup nation are
reasons that you would invest anyway.”
But even Israel should be careful,
he said, adding: “Tax policy is a reason you do things, but it’s not the only
reason you do things. But just like the US, there are only so many reasons to