In­side Is­rael’s se­cret startup Ma­chine

The Is­rael De­fense Forces’ clan­des­tine Unit 8200 isn’t just the myth­i­cal cy­ber­se­cu­rity and spy squad. It’s prob­a­bly the best school for en­trepreneur­ship in the world, spawn­ing hun­dreds of game-chang­ing tech star­tups. Here’s a de­fin­i­tive look in­side.

Forbes - - Features - By Richard Be­har

ven in the hal­lowed an­nals of teenage hack­er­dom, this never-before-told story might top them all. In the early 1990s Avishai Abra­hami found him­self, as re­quired for most Is­raelis when they grad­u­ate from high school, en­list­ing in the Is­rael De­fense Forces. But Abra­hami had been as­signed to a di­vi­sion he wasn’t al­lowed to speak of, not even to his par­ents—a crack cy­ber­se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence team known as Unit 8200.

He was given an as­sign­ment that seemed right out of Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble. Break into the com­put­ers of a coun­try that re­mained in a state of hos­til­ity with Is­rael. The task con­tained sev­eral hur­dles: First, fig­ure out how to get into those com­put­ers; sec­ond, how to crack the en­cryp­tion; and

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