Israel Aerospace Industries is launching a new research and development center in Singapore on Thursday, with the aim of finding new techniques and technologies to provide early warnings of impending cyber attacks.
The center is the first that an Israeli defense corporation has opened in the Far East, and its work force is expected to comprise 80 to 90 percent Singaporean staff, including scientists, engineers and professional computer analysts (known as white-hat hackers).
Esti Peshin, head of the Cyber Programs section at IAI’s subsidiary Elta, told The Jerusalem Post by phone from Singapore that the project was being set up in cooperation with Singapore’s Economic Development Board and that it represented a milestone for the Israeli defense industry.
“This center will deal with cyber challenges, focusing on providing warnings ahead of impending attacks,” said Peshin, a former senior member of Military Intelligence’s highly classified Unit 8200.
“Early warnings are needed, because if a cyber attack reaches your network, the chances of overcoming it are very low,” she continued. “If the attacker is persistent enough, he’ll get [past] your defenses.”
As a result, IAI is keen on developing defense technologies for an early warning cyber system like those long-established in the world of physical warfare, such as advanced radars, and electronic warfare defenses, she added.
“We feel there is a lot of room for research and development, to provide an edge over the attackers,” she said.
The center will focus on three areas: active defenses, such as catching cyber attackers in real time, monitoring them, and redirecting their attacks; finding the geographical location of virtual attackers; and anomaly detection, or recognizing deviations from routine behavior that could indicate impending attacks.
Peshin said Singapore had been chosen because of the Asia Pacific region’s high involvement in cyber defenses.
Countries like South Korea face high numbers of cyber attacks, she said, while India is a strong player in the cyber world.
“This is a very big business opportunity,” she added.
“We’ve identified the Asia Pacific region as having potential for sales of these technologies.”