The Jerusalem Post

PM invites allies to form global cybersecur­ity forum

Bennett: If you try and fight alone, you’re going to lose. If you fight together, you’re going to win

- • By LAHAV HARKOV

Israel is launching an internatio­nal cybersecur­ity network for like-minded countries to fight threats together, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced at the Cyber Week conference at Tel Aviv University on Wednesday.

“Israel is opening up and announcing a Global Cybernet Shield,” Bennett said. “If you try and fight alone, you’re going to lose. If you fight together, you’re going to win.”

Israel already has dozens of memoranda of understand­ing with other countries on cybersecur­ity, the prime minister said, but the Global Cybernet Shield is meant to “bring it to the next level of online, real-time network defense.”

The shield is still in developmen­t, and is meant to be an internatio­nal version of Israel’s “Cybernet” online-defense system.

“I invite all like-minded countries to join today. Call Yigal Unna,” Bennett said, referring to the director of the Israel National Cyber Directorat­e (INCD).

Bennett, the former CEO of a cybersecur­ity company, gave a TED-style speech at Cyber Week titled “Israel’s Cyberdefen­se – What’s Coming Next.” He walked across an empty stage with a visual presentati­on behind him, featuring slides that showed the components of Israel’s cyberdefen­se network, and a map of the world with arrows emanating from Iran to show who it has threatened with cyberattac­ks.

“Everything is under attack: our water, electricit­y, food, airplanes, cars. Everything is vulnerable,” Bennett warned.

The prime minister pointed out that cyberattac­ks are much easier than traditiona­l ones.

“If you’re a bad country trying to harm or attack someone else, in the past you needed to send an airplane with commandos or a bomber, but today, the best ROI” – return on investment – “is a cyberattac­k. You just need brains, knowledge, experience and a good Internet line. That’s as easy as it gets,” Bennett said.

“Today, the biggest bang for your buck in trying to attack another country, industry or anyone is a cyberattac­k, and that’s why it’s going to happen more and more,” he said.

Bennett said he views cyberattac­ks as one of the greatest threats not only to Israel’s national security, but to that of the world.

The Global Cybernet Shield would use the “principles of connectivi­ty” Israel uses for cyberdefen­se internally, but on an internatio­nal level, he explained.

THIS PRINCIPLE is put into practice in the way the private and public sectors work together to defend Israel from cyberattac­ks.

The INCD is tasked with defending the state’s critical infrastruc­ture from attack, but it also has a shared responsibi­lity for the private sector.

Bennett compared a cybersecur­ity threat to a pickpocket on a bus; if one person loudly declares what the pickpocket is doing, others will know how to defend themselves.

Private companies are able to contact the directorat­e when they are under attack, which shares informatio­n across Israel.

“If one of those countries out there is attacking one of our companies, we want everyone else to know,” Bennett said.

Aviram Atzaba, INCD executive director of strategy and internatio­nal cooperatio­n, explained that Israel developed its Cybernet system several years ago, in which over 1,500 organizati­ons, including major Israeli companies, government ministries and more, share informatio­n about cyberattac­ks. Companies send warnings to the directorat­e, which anonymizes the messages and sends them to all the network’s members.

“We can spread informatio­n without compromisi­ng the company that was attacked, and thus stop a pandemic in the cyber world,” Atzaba explained.

In the newest edition of Cybernet, the INCD also sends the organizati­ons informatio­n on how to defend themselves by patching their own systems.

The system’s major advantage is its speed in warning organizati­ons about attacks, Atzaba said.

The system has been very successful in Israel, he said, and foreign cybersecur­ity units have expressed interest in joining. Bennett himself suggested that the network be made internatio­nal to allow like-minded states to cooperate in the cyberdefen­se effort.

In his address, Bennett also acknowledg­ed that most Israeli innovation comes from the private sector, but said the government created an environmen­t in which the industry can thrive. That includes the IDF giving young people major responsibi­lities, whether in cybersecur­ity and intelligen­ce units or, like Bennett himself, in combat units.

In addition, the prime minister commended the creation of a cybersecur­ity and technology hub in Beersheba, where IDF cyber experts, private tech developers and venture capital firm associates can easily meet, network and innovate.

“Innovation is something you can’t command, force or direct,” he said. “There is no law we could create that will say ‘we want you to innovate twice a day’ – it doesn’t work that way. All we can do is allow it to happen, allow all these folks to get together, create this fusion and let them move.”

 ?? (Miriam Alster/Flash90) ?? PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett speaks at the annual Cyber Week at Tel Aviv University yesterday.
(Miriam Alster/Flash90) PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett speaks at the annual Cyber Week at Tel Aviv University yesterday.

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