Ex-Israeli NSA chief: Foundation of civilization is under attack

International experts and Israeli security officials raise concerns for safety in a digital age.

June 26, 2017 10:48
2 minute read.
Illustrative image of cyber counter-terrorism

Illustrative image of cyber counter-terrorism. (photo credit: INGIMAGE PHOTOS)


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The foundation of civilization is under cyber attack, said the former commander of Israel's elite intelligence Unit 8200 Nadav Zafir on Monday.

Zafir claimed that the electoral process can be tampered with by unlawful cyber activity and damage infrastructure, putting democratic civilizations at risk.

Zafir, headed what is considered to be the Israeli NSA between 2009 - 2013, made the comments during Cyber Week at Tel Aviv University.

The current chief of the Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman, is scheduled to give a rare talk on Tuesday that will present the audience with some of the means the Israeli security services use to tackle threats from individual hackers. This would be the first time such details will be openly presented to the public.
PM Netanyahu's remarks at the International Cyber Conference

Today marks the second day of the conference, a unique event that address the challenges of security and privacy, for governments as well as private people, as the Internet becomes ever more present in global communication, finance, and entertainment.

The former chief of the US National Security Agency (NSA) Keith Alexander also addressed the summit, telling the audience that he recently met with US President Donald Trump and that, despite what you hear in the press, the president understands fully existential cyber threats. 

Speakers include Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism official Thomas Bossert, who serves as assistant to Trump. Current director of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) Nadav Argaman, Check Point CEO Gil Shwed and former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani are also in the lineup.

Other speakers include chief information security officer of the Indian Axis bank Ashutosh Jain and Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems. Events include an international war game simulation, a panel on the role of cyber in aviation, and even a cocktail party. 

In recent years Israel became a celebrated global leader in the realm of cyber security, hi-tech, and technological innovation. Leading many to label Israel as a "Hi-Tech Nation".

This is the sixth year in which Cyber Week had taken place. This year's event will include round table discussions discussing Israeli - French, India-Israel, and UK - Israel innovation and regulation in regard to cyber security. 

Those visiting the conference will be greeted by a huge six meters (19.5 feet) sculpture of a Trojan horse created from molten bits of smartphones, keyboards, and television screens that have been made useless due to a virus attack or remote hacking. The piece, which weighs two tons, was designed by Israeli advertising executive Gideon Amichay for the 2016 conference and became an iconic piece at campus.  

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