Climate crisis is here, it has cybersecurity consequences - comptroller

Israeli State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman: ‘States who underinvest in cyber defense leave their people defenseless’

 Israeli State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman is seen alongside his Moroccan counterpart. (photo credit: Courtesy State Comptroller's Office)
Israeli State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman is seen alongside his Moroccan counterpart.
(photo credit: Courtesy State Comptroller's Office)

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman recently warned a global conference of 150 of his counterparts in Brazil of the severe dangers of the joint climate change and cyberattack crisis, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

In a speech he delivered to the conference, he said that “the climate change crisis isn’t a futuristic apocalypse – it is already here.”

“The climate change crisis isn’t a futuristic apocalypse, it is already here.”

Matanyahu Englman

Englman reached an agreement with Brazilian comptroller Bruno Dantas, who is also chairman of the governing board of The International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI, the comptrollers’ international group) on critiquing countries globally regarding their compliance with meeting standards for combating climate change.

Dantas and Englman, who is vice president of EUROSAI, the European comptrollers’ group, plan to co-run a panel at a comptroller conference set to take place next year in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking to Dantas, Englman said that “the climate change crisis goes beyond borders and continents. It does not distinguish between enemy and friendly countries and threatens to harm every area. There is no doubt that every nation has a genuine obligation to exert all of its efforts to get to solutions.”

 Israeli State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman is seen taking part at a conference in Brazil. (credit: Courtesy State Comptroller's Office) Israeli State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman is seen taking part at a conference in Brazil. (credit: Courtesy State Comptroller's Office)

“Any nation by itself will not succeed to save the world, certainly [not] Israel, which is a small country,” he said. “Therefore, there is great importance for complete global cooperation in order to preserve the Earth… On the scale is the survival of our children and grandchildren.”

Last year, Englman published a comprehensive report on how well Israel was complying with its own commitments to fight climate change, something which was read widely among other comptrollers.

Englman also reached agreements with the comptrollers of Morocco and the UAE for new mechanisms of cooperation.

He showed the Moroccan comptroller his office’s Arabic website in order to demonstrate how the Israeli comptroller’s office is working to connect with all of the country’s diverse sectors.

“States who under-invest in cyberdefense leave their people defenseless”

At the conference in Brazil, Englman led a panel on cyberdefense in order to emphasize his vision that “cyber threats constitute a central threat,” to all countries’ national security.

“States who under-invest in cyberdefense leave their people defenseless,” he stated.

When Englman took over as comptroller three-and-a-half years ago, he established a much larger and continuous team to aggressively critique gaps in Israel’s cyberdefense.

The comptroller has already published a series of reports on cyberdefense deficiencies and will be publishing an additional report sometime in the coming month or so.

To illustrate the danger, Englman showed off his cellphone to the attendees at the conference, saying that “this electronic instrument, and everyone else’s similar instrument, can easily turn into a weapon against you. I could be holding the cellphone in Israel and an enemy or criminal could use it against me.”

Revealing a message he delivered to Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai, he said, “Israel’s police are not prepared to defend its civilians from cybercrime in which most of them are not operating from within the state’s [physical] borders. You are fighting yesterday’s war which is not relevant to the challenges of 2022.”

“Israel’s police are not prepared to defend its civilians from cybercrime in which most of them are not operating from within the state’s [physical] borders. You are fighting yesterday’s war which is not relevant to the challenges of 2022.”

Matanyahu Englman

At this point in history, it is more likely that theft will be carried out digitally with a cyber criminal sitting on the opposite end of the world from the bank from which he is stealing, than by old-fashioned physically breaking into a bank’s branch office, the comptroller said.

In recent years, he said, the Israeli Knesset itself was hacked and there was a serious ransomware hack of an Israeli hospital for over a month.

Hackers recently stole $3.36 billion in Bitcoin value from the US, noted Englman.

“The obligation to defend against these cyber threats does not rest solely on a police force’s shoulders. Rather, cyberdefense is an obligation of every state to its citizens,” he declared.

“No state has immunity and there is no electronic system which is beyond serious danger,” of being hacked.

The comptroller said that he would campaign with his colleagues to create global pressure on all countries to better defend their citizens from cyberattacks – something which would pay off for the entire global community.