Ninety percent of Israelis don't report cybercrime to police, and law enforcement lacks the capability to properly pursue the culprits, State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman said at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Monday.
Englman told Jerusalem Post correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh how he had prioritized cyber security in his audits of government and civil organizations.
The comptroller said that during his tenure as the Deputy Director General of the Technion Institute of Technology, he realized how important cyber security had become.
In 2022, he said that the world economy suffered $6-10 trillion dollars in damages from cybercrime.
"We are the first state comptroller to launch a cyber security department," said Englman.
Business continuity and privacy are a priority
Englman explained how they had even hired hackers to probe weaknesses so that his auditing body could improve the security, electricity, tax and health infrastructure. He related that one Israeli hospital suffered a cyber attack and was crippled for a month and a half.
Two priorities for Englman were business continuity and privacy -- many businesses have private info on citizens, he noted. The privacy of civilians from police was also in question, with the State Comptroller's Office looking at matters such as the NSO Pegasus scandal, in which law enforcement is accused of using spyware beyond their mandate of wiretapping.
"We are now looking into the use of technology by law enforcement," said Englman. "How do they use it by law against civilians? We don't want people looking at people's private phones without authorization."
"We don't want people looking at people's private phones without authorization."Matanyahu Englman
Englman said that his office was working in close cooperation with their US counterparts, allowing them to learn best practices from one another.
The comptroller's international cooperation also extended into joint work on audits connected to matters of climate change.
Elected two years ago to be the president of The European Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions, Englman said that he advocated to his regional counterparts that "We need to as state comptroller check whether governments are prepared for climate change issues."
Englman said that he was working with his counterparts on COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference comptrollers presentations.