Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran attempts cyber attacks on Israeli infrastructure “daily,” only to be thwarted by the Jewish state.
“Iran attacks Israel on a daily basis,” he said at the Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. “We monitor these attacks, see the attacks and thwart the attacks. In the last 24 hours, Iran has said it will destroy us and target our cities with missiles. They don’t impress us because we know our power on defense and offense.”
Netanyahu also touched on the vulnerabilities of airlines, saying they can be attacked in “one hundred [different] ways.”Cyberattacks
on aircraft can come via “ground control, interference, systems within the plane and communications. It is the most vulnerable system we have – dramatically vulnerable. But everything today is vulnerable and under attack.”
The prime minister also listed a range of statistics highlighting Israeli achievements in the cyber arena.
He said all top global technology companies now have major offices in Israel, with some of those offices exceeding the size of their original headquarters in their home countries.
Netanyahu said that Israel’s strength comes from “leveraging our defense industry into the civilian cybersecurity sector.”
With 20% of the world’s investments in cyber security, he said that Israel is now number two in terms of the number of cyber security companies it hosts.
Another piece if information Netanyahu tossed out was that even as the US is 42 times larger than Israel, the US’s NSA is less than 10 times bigger than Israel’s.
Finally, he said that a key to rapid Israeli cyber growth was keeping regulation low, so that there were few limits on creativity and on international cooperation.
Netanyahu did not respond to a challenge earlier at the same conference to his control of the cyber agency which has the largest responsibility for managing election cybersecurity.
Ex-Labor MK Erel Margalit had said that the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) should take over election security due to the public corruption cases against Netanyahu.
Margalit argued that Netanyahu might have undue influence over the current cyber authorities protecting the elections and that this could undermine their integrity since law enforcement appears to be moving toward indicting him.
He said that the Shin Bet could be more trusted to remain impartial than the newer cyber authorities, which still have not been formally regulated by a specific law and are run solely through the Prime Minister’s Office.
It was unclear exactly how Margalit’s argument works, since the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) has said that it does not directly supervise elections. Rather, the INCD has said that the Central Elections Committee has its own independent oversight. This is because the INCD is a government authority and there is a desire to keep elections separate from any such regular government authority.
At the same time, there have been indications that the INCD is substantially involved in managing aspects of elections cyber security, even if indirectly.
In another speech at the conference, INCD chief Yigal Unna said his agency “presents them [the election committee] with the best practices and then they decide how to achieve” their cybersecurity needs.
Unna also made a major prediction, saying that in 2019 Israel would “make the maritime cyberspace more secure with friends all around the Mediterranean.”
It was unclear exactly which foreign countries would be involved, but his statement appeared to hint at high level cyber cooperation with moderate Sunni countries.
Further, he said that the INCD had quadrupled to 1,200 the membership of its cybernet network of government and private sector cybersecurity experts sharing solutions.
Also, at the conference, Israel Electric Company chairman Maj. Gen. (res.) Yiftach Ron Tal said that in 20 years, the era of large power stations will have ended.
He said that 80% of energy resources will be “decentralized” by 2040, by which he meant most energy will come from green energies like sun, wind and water and improved stored energy.
Ron Tal said the world is moving to an era of “almost unlimited energy when any surface exposed to sunlight can generate energy with immediate use” and individual consumers will be able to “sell” stored energy back to the electric company.
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