“I welcome you to come to Israel. You couldn’t have come to a better place for cybersecurity. We want your business,” Netanyahu told an international conference on the subject.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on countries from around the world to join Israel in combating cyber warfare and terrorism, saying that “you couldn’t have come to a better place for cybersecurity” than Israel.
Addressing the 8th Annual International Cybersecurity Conference at Tel Aviv University on Wednesday, which was attended by cyber experts, diplomats and security companies, Netanyahu warned of the mounting threats that cyber terrorists pose to civilization as we know it.
His address included a simulated cyberattack screened on a video monitor in which a message about the attack was displayed.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this conference has just been hacked. Ironic, isn’t it? A conference dedicated to cybersecurity being hacked,” the simulation showed. “We are based in a country not far from Israel. That’s all you need to know for now. The bank accounts of everyone sitting in this hall have just been frozen. The intellectual property of your companies is in our hands, so are your private conversations. This information is being sent to your competition and your enemies. Have a nice day.”
“This is not far-fetched,” Netanyahu said.
‘Amazing Threat’ Posed by Rogue States
“In the jargon they say, state actors could do much worse; no, not state actors – states. States can do much worse. They can do everything that you heard here and much more,” Netanyahu warned. “They can cripple our most sensitive systems. They can even take over, literally take over, some of those vital systems.”
The Israeli premier underscored that this threat is not “something that is theoretical in the future. It’s already happening in the present, as you well know. You wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t have companies. There wouldn’t be this thriving business if there wasn’t this amazing threat to our banks, our airplanes, even our weapons.”
While this situation presents “unbelievable opportunities and we’re realizing them,” at the same time the world is also facing “unbelievable challenges and we must confront them,” Netanyahu stated.
“There will be no silver bullet. It doesn’t exist. There will be no solution that stops hermetically any country or even the majority of attacks. It’s not going to happen,” he added.
While Israel has been quite successful in thwarting cyber attacks, “the only way we can address this enormous challenge to enormous opportunities is to keep running ahead, to be ahead faster and faster and faster. This is a supreme test for our civilization. It is going to be tested not only by criminal organizations, by terrorists, but by other states.”
Netanyahu said that eight years ago his goal was to transform Israel to one of the world’s top five leading countries in cyber security, and “we have achieved our goal and even surpassed it.”
‘We Have to Combine Forces’
“We have to combine forces. This is why we’re holding this cyber conference here. It is to protect the present and ensure the future, no less than that. I welcome you to come to Israel. You couldn’t have come to a better place for cybersecurity. We want your business,” he concluded.
The Jewish state is considered a global leader in the cyber security business.
Speaking in June 2017, Netanyahu said that Israel experiences “every month dozens of cyber-attacks on the national level. And at any given moment, including right now, there are probably three to five attacks on the national level that emanate from various sources – the usual suspects and a few others.”
In response, Israel established its national cyber defense authority, whose objective is “not only to respond to attacks, but to prevent them by early warning, to prevent them also by guidance, by teaching a systemic doctrine to the extent that you can be systemic in this business.”
Israel, the country with the world’s 100th-largest population, signed the second-largest number of cybersecurity deals internationally, according to a report by New York data firm CB Insights published in April.
First place went to the United States, with a massive 69 percent of all global deals between 2013 to 2017.
Israel managed to grab second place with 7 percent, ahead of the United Kingdom with 6 percent, Canada with 3 percent and China with 2 percent, according to the report.
Israel has developed advanced security protocols, as cyber attacks on Israel have risen exponentially in the past four years, reaching up to two million attacks against crucial Israeli infrastructure on a daily basis.
Its rise as one of the world’s leaders in cyber security has been boosted by cooperation between the military, government, education and private sectors – a level of partnership unmatched in the Western world.