Israel, Boeing sign deal to defend aircraft industry from cyberattacks

The announcement comes shortly after Israel and the US Department of Homeland Security had announced that they were initiating a joint cyber program.

An IAI cargo Boeing 777 flies over Tel Aviv during a flyover by IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) planes on Israel's Independence Day, which marks the 73rd anniversary of the creation of the state, Israel April 15, 2021. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
An IAI cargo Boeing 777 flies over Tel Aviv during a flyover by IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) planes on Israel's Independence Day, which marks the 73rd anniversary of the creation of the state, Israel April 15, 2021.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

US defense giant Boeing and Israel have signed a deal to cooperate on a wide basis for providing security to the aircraft industry from cyberattacks.

“The civilian aircraft sector could be characterized by its many technological developments which create new complexities and cyber challenges,” Boeing and the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) said in a statement.

“These developments require advance preparations for proper cyber defenses,” the INCD said, citing the new deal with Boeing as one large piece of a broader strategy in this area.

“These developments require advance preparations for proper cyberdefenses.”

Boeing and INCD

INCD director Gaby Portnoy signed on behalf of Israel, while Boeing Israel president and former IAF commander Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Ido Nehushtan and Boeing vice president for managing cyber systems Brian Connolly signed on behalf of the US defense company.

 Former IAF commander Ido Nehushtan is seen addressing The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Herzliya on December 12, 2021. (credit: FLASH90, MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/POOL) Former IAF commander Ido Nehushtan is seen addressing The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Herzliya on December 12, 2021. (credit: FLASH90, MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/POOL)

Viewed as the third-largest defense exporter in the world and the largest in the US, Boeing has clients in more than 150 countries relating to helicopters, aircraft and space technology.

Touching on the full range

The deal is not restricted to providing one cyber service, but rather touches on the full range of sharing cyber intelligence, identifying threats in advance, working jointly to prepare for those specific threats, mitigating the potential harm they present and working on a variety of cyberdefense solutions for civilian airports.

INCD chief technology officer Tomer Goren said: “The agreement is a product of a continuous dialogue which increased trust between the sides, which is critical for partnering in the cyber aircraft arena. The agreement will facilitate a deeper understanding of the cyber dangers to aircraft and will contribute to civilian airport security as the business area rises out of the coronavirus crisis.”

Goren said he hoped other major defense companies and possibly other countries would join the collective airports cyberdefense effort, with the INCD statement later also mentioning Airbus.

The announcement comes shortly after Israel and the US Department of Homeland Security announced they were initiating a joint cyber program for specifically increasing the resilience of cyberdefense infrastructure.

In recent months, there also have been significant discussions about Israel and moderate Sunni Arab states in the Middle East working together on a range of security issues, from cyber to joint early warning systems and joint anti-missile defense.

As early as late 2020, former INCD director Yigal Unna had revealed exclusively to The Jerusalem Post that the UAE was in a select group with the US and Singapore in terms of the depth of cyber cooperation between the countries.