Netanyahu says Israel foils Iranian cyber attacks ‘on a daily basis’
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his country foils Iranian-directed cyber attacks against it “on a daily basis” as he touted Israel’s cyber prowess at the CyberTech conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday.
“Iran attacks Israel on a daily basis. We monitor these attacks, we see these attacks, and we foil these attacks all the time,” Netanyahu said.
“Iran threatens us in many other ways. They issued in the last 24 hours threats that say they’ll destroy us, they’ll target our cities with missiles. We’re not oblivious to these threats. They don’t impress us. Because we know what out power is both in defense and in offense,” he added.
“But the important thing is that any country can be attacked today with cyber attacks and every country needs the combination of a national cyber defense effort and a robust cybersecurity industry. And I think Israel has that in ways that are in many ways unmatched.”
Netanyahu was speaking at the annual CyberTech conference in Tel Aviv, which drew thousands of cyber experts and firms from more than 80 countries for discussions on the latest trends in cyber and innovation.
Netanyahu touted Israel’s influence in the industry relative to its population, attributing it to investment in research and development and its leveraging of its national cyber defense efforts to boost private industry.
Israel is considered a world leader in cyber technology and innovation, exporting cybersecurity worth $3.8 billion in 2017 and is ranking among the top 10% in cyber academic research.
In the span of just a decade, Netanyahu said, the world’s top ten largest companies have all opened “major” research and development centers in Israel, among them Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook.
“Israel leads the world in investment in R&D as a percentage of [gross domestic product]...and has by far the highest percentage of R&D personnel,” Netanyahu explained.
“Cybersecurity is not merely here to stay, it’s going to grow exponentially,” Netanyahu said.
“I decided several years ago to turn Israel into one of the five cyber powers of the world and that required allowing this combination of military intelligence, academia, and industry to converge in one place. And where we’re doing that is in Beersheba in the south,” Netanyahu said.
Beersheba, a city in the vast Negev desert of southern Israel, has experienced a rapid gentrification since the start of the decade fueled by the city's ambition to become Israel's cyber capital, especially since the creation of its cyber industrial park CyberSpark.
The two ultra-modern complexes house a dozen Israeli companies, start-ups, venture capital funds and foreign groups -- such as Lockheed Martin, Deutsche Telekom, Oracle and IBM -- which employ thousands technicians, engineers and researchers many of whom have studied at the computer sciences department of the local Ben Gurion University -- part of a planned symbiosis between the university and the company.
Last year, the Israel Innovation Authority, the Ministry of Economy and Industry, and the National Cyber Directorate announced a dedicated program to strengthen the country’s cyber industry with an investment of NIS 90 million over the next three years.
A significant portion of the investment has been earmarked for further enhancing Beersheba’s CyberSpark hub.
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