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Our man in Israel: news dispatch from CyberTech 2014 Conference

(February 03, 2014)

Our man in Israel: news dispatch from CyberTech 2014 Conference

By: Adrian Courtenay

February 3, 2014 ( newswire) As reported Monday by the Times of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel opened up his country's first cybersecurity conference, Israel CyberTech 2014, on January 27th, saying "I think Israel is unquestionably a leading power, disproportionate to its size, with great talents and great resources. We have decided to put these resources together in a coherent way and we have structured a National Cyber Bureau."

Dr. Eviatar Matania, head of the new Bureau, explained its three purposes as establishing a cyber defense policy for the country's institutions, developing legislation and procedures for government and private enterprise cybersecurity and turning Israel into a global cyber-innovator.

"We have a great ecosystem in Israel, and a great deal of talent," she said. "We see the establishment of the Bureau as an important step for Israel and the international community, something that will help us and the rest of the world."

GSN's intrepid correspondent at CyberTech 2014, Scott Greiper, who serves in his spare time as Founder and President of Secure Strategy Group, the prominent strategic and financial advisory firm in New York, provided us with the following dispatches.

A number of major multinational companies have announced plans to set up cybersecurity centers in Israel. These include Lockheed Martin and EMC Corporation, who have partnered to open a joint cyber-security center in Beersheva, Israel's cyber hub. IBM is the latest U.S. technology giant to announce the establishment of a global center of excellence, also in Beersheva, in collaboration with Ben Gurion University. And Cisco Systems has announced plans to make Israel the first true "Digital Nation."

As a financial expert, correspondent Greiper is very adept with numbers and didn't let the reader down in the area of cybersecurity and CyberTech 2014, reporting that some 5,500 people from Israel and abroad were expected to attend, and of these, 450 represent heads of industry and cybersecurity agencies from around the world, with the U.S. fielding one of the largest delegations including 50 people from the White House and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

In a panel consisting of leading strategic players in cyber discussing investment and acquisition opportunities in cybersecurity (Lockheed Martin, New Enterprise Associates, RSA, Intel, Cisco), it was disclosed that $60 billion is spent annually on cyber solutions, and this number is expected to increase to $90 billion in 2017. The U.S. government spent $17 billion on cyber in 2013, while the average U.S. Corporation spent an average of $2.5 million in 2013. VCs invested $663 million in 2012, which grew to $935 million in 2013, of which 35% was in seed stage companies. In Israel alone there has been $2 billion of M&A activity in the last three years, and 20 global companies made cyber acquisitions in Israel.

Trends noted in the first day of the conference included the facts that data centers are moving from on-premise to the cloud; identity management is required seamlessly across all platforms (workstations, servers, laptops, mobile devices, cloud); and the change in threat from hackers sending things over the Internet hoping it will stick, to state sponsored highly targeted attacks.

Additionally, most providers are selling point solutions and tools, as opposed to comprehensive platforms, leading to the conclusion that providers need to provide a fully integrated approach which understands patterns, trends, and analytics, and in which sensor networks and analytics are combined. Cybersecurity is a cat and mouse game; defenders are always chasing offenders; and companies are overloaded with threat info and unable to task enough people.

And with computing moving from desktop to laptop, to mobile to cloud, this has brought new threats. With so many companies coming to the market with similar features, marketing capability becomes critical to get to market and build the business. This is something that Israeli companies don't do well.

On the subject of securing the physical domain from cyber threats, the points emerging from CyberTech 2014 were that cyber threats exist everywhere in the physical domain (PC, cell phone, ATMs); you can't hide and there are no physical shields from a virus or a worm, unlike a physical military attack; in cyber, companies and individuals have to protect their own domains, unlike in the past when the government and law enforcement was responsible for protecting individuals and corporate attacks from military attack. In other words, cyber breaks paradigms, leading to the conclusion that the best defense is a good offence, and there is no reason to counterattack because you can't physically destroy the enemy.

Another topic of great concern that emerged was cyber threats against the energy industry. Key critical infrastructure threats are aimed at utilities. There are 130,000 cyber threats per day against Israeli energy facilities. In the U.S. there were $170 billion in energy outages in 2013. Energy infrastructure is not secure and energy security is far behind corporate security, leaving the energy industry facing threat risks such as national disasters, and inside and outside threats.

Government and enterprises must work together to integrate solutions.

A final takeaway from CyberTech 2014 reported by correspondent Greiper was that "identity management is critical." Specifically:

  • Identity management is key between any device, network or cloud;
  • Identity management must move to the cloud and be offered as a service; and
  • BYOD "Bring Your Own Device" becomes "Bring Your Own Identity."


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