New cyber-security startups launched in Beersheba

An incubator will be located in the new Beersheba Technology Park near the university and the new technological campus of the IDF.

Happy people working at computer desks 370 (photo credit: Courtesy photos: Tsofen)
Happy people working at computer desks 370
(photo credit: Courtesy photos: Tsofen)
Israel’s first-ever cyberspace security incubator will be established in Beersheba under the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Industry and Trade Ministry, thanks to BGN Technologies – Ben-Gurion University’s technology transfer company – and Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), a leading venture capital firm. The initiative comes in the wake of rising cyberthreats and increasing attacks on critical computer infrastructure in Israel and around the world.
The incubator will be located in the new Beersheba Technology Park adjacent to the university and the new technological campus of the Israel Defense Forces’ telecommunications division. The incubator is expected to begin operations in a few months.
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is one of the leaders in academic applied research in cyber-security as part of its Homeland Security Institute. Israel has been named one of the top three world leaders in the field of cybersecurity.
About 25 Israeli information security companies have been acquired by multinational organizations, and Israeli companies are counted among the world’s leading information- technology security providers.
JVP plans to choose a select number of new startups each year from hundreds of candidates in the fields of cyber-security and enterprise software to join the incubator. Once established, the incubator will seek to expand to include an additional incubator for community-based social initiatives and a cultural arm that will bring Jerusalem’s Zappa Music Club to the southern town.
“Hi-tech is the engine of the Israeli economy, and it’s important that we bring it to areas and population groups throughout the country,” said JVP founder and chairman Erel Margalit.
“Israel’s leadership in the area of cyber-security is a strategic asset for the country, and we can leverage it not only for security purposes, but also economically and socially. Establishing the Beersheba incubator alongside a social incubator and other cultural hotspots can create cultural and social change along with 1.000 new jobs.”
JVP’s Yoav Tzruya, who will be heading the cyber-security incubator, believes it may be the key to expanding hi-tech development in the Negev. “Our vision is to turn Beersheba into a center of innovation and creativity in the field of hi-tech, and a leader in the field of cyber-security,” said Tzruya.
JVP, established in 1993, manages eight venture capital funds with over $900 million under management having created and supported over 90 companies over the past 19 years.
JVP has long focused many of its investments in the area of cybersecurity and enterprise software, the most prominent in this space today being Cyber Security company Cyber-Ark, which has over 1,100 customers worldwide being installed in eight of the world’s top 10 banks.
SHORT DISRUPTIONS CAUSE PERFORMANCE MIXUPS Our lives are so full of short interruptions – such as answering or silencing one’s cellphone or a colleague stopping by to say hello – that they have become natural to us.
But that doesn’t mean they are good for us. These interruptions have been found to have a surprisingly large effect on our ability to accurately complete a task, according to new research led by Michigan State University.
The study, in which 300 people performed a sequence-based procedure on a computer, found that interruptions of about three seconds doubled the error rate.
The resultant errors can be disastrous for professionals who deal with life and death – such as airplane mechanics and emergency- room physicians, said lead researcher and psychology Prof. Erik Altmann.
“What this means is that our health and safety is, on some level, contingent on whether the people looking after it have been interrupted,” said Altmann. The study, funded by the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research, is one of the first to examine brief interruptions of relatively difficult tasks.
The findings appear in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.
Study participants were asked to perform a series of tasks in order, such as identifying with a keystroke whether a letter was closer to the start or the end of the alphabet. Even without interruptions a small number of errors in sequence were made.
Sometimes participants were interrupted and told to type two letters – which took 2.8 seconds – before returning to the task. When this happened, they were twice as likely to mess up the sequence. Altmann said he was surprised that such short interruptions had a large effect. The interruptions lasted no longer than each step of the main task, he noted, so the time factor likely wasn’t the cause of the errors.
“So why did the error rate go up?” Altmann said. “The answer is that the participants had to shift their attention from one task to another.
Even momentary interruptions can seem jarring when they occur during a process that takes considerable thought.”
One potential solution, particularly when errors would be costly, is to design an environment that protects against interruptions. “So before you enter this critical phase: All cell phones off at the very least,” Altmann said.