The Ministry of Defense will set up a new cyber body to support Israeli defense
industries in coping with cyber threats, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Udi Shani,
Director General of the Ministry, announced at the Herzliya Conference on
The new center will be based at the Ministry's Authority for the
Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, Shani said.
big challenge is the system. It's made up of [data] storage, and products that
are totally civilian, like laptops," Shani said.
Noting that most
military networks, such as the Ground Forces' Digital Ground Army system, use
Windows, and that many components are made abroad, Shani said the threat "can't
be fenced in for sure."
He called for Israeli manufacturers to begin producing
routers, hardware, and microchips to decrease the threat of contaminated
components entering sensitive systems.
"If we do this all in house, we
enter a whole new budget vector," he said. Supervision of manufacturing will
help contain new threats, Shani argued.
Israeli defense firms must be
encouraged to provide in-house solutions when they build systems, while
medium-sized and small start-ups should also receive encouragement, he
Criminals and terrorists in the virtual world represent a whole new
threat category, and the time has come to do away with "traditional, linear
thinking," Shani said.
The private sector is filled with creativity and
must also be encouraged, as it can help Israel obtain state of the art defense
tools to cope with emerging cyber threats, Shani stressed.
various security agencies should cooperate to ensure "transparency and
commitment in the cyber defense realm," Shani said.
Dr. Eviatar Matania,
head of the Israel National Cyber bureau at the Prime Minister's Office, warned
against "illogical supervision" of manufacturing, noting that companies are
global and free. "We have to be very, very careful," he said.
Matania said cyber challenges are posing a "threat to Western civilization as
we know it," adding that terror organizations and criminals can undermine whole
states. "The West doesn't know how to deal with this," he said.
same time, the new reality presented opportunities for economic growth. "We
can't just have young, brilliant kids in intelligence units, who then go on to
found start-ups. We need an Israeli ecosystem that takes the country forward,"
Key areas of growth include state infrastructure, academia,
and industry, enabling Israel to be more ready and have enough qualified people
to cope with the growing challenge.
The government has provided 50
million shekels for academic research projects in cyber defenses over the next
three years, and more funds will be allocated, Matania said.
"There is a
high school program to encourage development in this field," he added.