Ontario, Israel launch $15m. innovation research network

“Israel’s leadership in the cyber security field makes it a natural partner for Ontario in seeking to deliver state-of-the-art technology."

The moon rises over the Toronto city skyline as seen from Milton, Ontario (photo credit: REUTERS)
The moon rises over the Toronto city skyline as seen from Milton, Ontario
(photo credit: REUTERS)
With the aim of strengthening cybersecurity solutions for the international financial-services sector, Israel and Ontario are launching a C$20 million ($15m.) network for the joint development of relevant technologies.
The Ontario and Israeli governments, through Ontario Centers of Excellence and the Israel Innovation Authority, are each committing C$5m. ($3.8m.) over five years – sums that will be matched by participating small and medium- sized enterprises. The new initiative is part of the larger Ontario-Israel Research Network Program (OIRNP-MAGNET), which supports industry-led collaborations to jointly develop innovative technologies.
“Because technology in the financial services sector evolves very rapidly, concerns about cybersecurity are paramount for both business and consumers,” said Tom Corr, OCE’s president and CEO. “Israel’s leadership in the cybersecurity field makes it a natural partner for Ontario in seeking to deliver state-of-theart technology. This bilateral collaboration is an excellent opportunity to leverage expertise, resources and supply chains in creating better cybersecurity solutions for the financial services sector.”
OCE is a not-for-profit program funded by the government of Ontario, which focuses on training and developing the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, in partnership with industry, academia and public institutions.
Meanwhile, the Israel Innovation Authority’s MAGNET (the acronym in Hebrew for Generic Pre-Competitive R&D) project works to encourage collaboration among companies and academics by supporting R&D activities.
The $15m. initiative, delivered in Ontario by OCE on behalf of the province’s Research, Innovation and Science Ministry, hopes to provide “an exciting opportunity to engage in international industry-academic collaboration,” a statement from the partnership said.
OIRNP-MAGNET, the larger OCE and Israel Innovation Authority partnership program, will aim to address the challenges faced by multi-national enterprises – matching Ontarian enterprises with Israeli small- and medium- sized businesses, as well as, potentially, academic researchers, the statement added.
OCE and the Toronto Financial Services Alliance have already identified five of Canada’s largest financial institutions that are slated to participate in the new project: Bank of Montreal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), and Toronto-Dominion Bank Group.
Within the realm of cybersecurity solutions for financial services, the partners are looking for proposals that focus on six specific challenges, according to the program.
The first challenge involves leveraging data that can span across various forms of cybersecurity threats, fraudulent transactions and suspicious activities around money laundering.
These solutions will aim to reduce the cost and impact of such fraud events and provide new models for proactive monitoring, the program said.
A second challenge is providing solutions for authentication, to demonstrate to an interface that the user is really who he or she claims to be.
Such solutions should not be limited to today’s methods, which typically include passwords and biometrics.
A third challenge posed by the initiative is developing efficient cost-effective approaches to encrypting and securing data in the cloud, while a fourth challenge asks innovators to block malicious network traffic as close to the source as possible.
The program’s fifth challenge is looking for solutions that address the trend of using third parties and expanding supply chains, which have broadened the attack surface for many organizations. Relevant solutions will maintain an organization’s third-party footprint and identify links with third parties with as much automation as possible, the program said.
A final challenge focuses on security technology for threat hunt automation – providing such a platform from a centralized console, among other solutions.
Eligible Ontarian enterprises must file their proposals to OCE, while Israeli partners should apply directly to the Israel Innovation Authority, the program said.