Israeli cybersecurity has been at the forefront of global attention in recent years, but especially in the last few months. First, the who's who of global cybersec convened in Tel Aviv for Cybertech 2016 and in May Israeli and American cyber experts met for DCOI in Washington, DC. and last week Tel Aviv University hosted its annual Cyberweek.
In February, I wrote about the Cybertech conference in Tel Aviv, which attracted thousands of visitors from abroad and featured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the keynote speaker.
The conference was a climax to 2015 as the year that put Israeli cybertech at the forefront of the fast-growing global cyber scene. In 2015 alone Israel generated cybersecurity sales worth $4 billion, resulting in a whopping 20 percent of all global private sector investments in the booming industry.
DCOI in Washington, DC. brings together Israeli and American cyber experts
The two-day event hosted at the George Washington University brought together high profile individuals from the industry, including General David Petraeus, who is the former head of CIA, and Richard A. Clarke, the former special advisor to President George W. Bush on Cybersecurity. IDF's former Head of Intelligence, Amos Yadlin and Gil Shwed, the founder, and CEO of Check Point were some of the notable Israeli guests in attendance.
Petraeus had some warm words regarding the relationship between Israel and the US.
"There has always been an extraordinarily close relationship between Israeli military and intelligence and various counterparts in the US government. These have been unbelievable relationships. I think they just keep getting better and better."
Petraeus, who has invested in Windward, a maritime data and analytics company based in Tel Aviv, encouraged Israeli startups to consider the US as a stepping stone to bigger things. Petraeus advised Israeli startups not to sell at an early stage to a US IT firm, but instead, move operations to the US where the company can build and scale.
Attending was also Omri Dotan, the CBO of Morphisec, an endpoint security solution based in Beersheba, Israel cyberhub. We had a long chat about Israeli and American cyber landscape and according to Dotan, Israel's experience and excellence stem from Israeli-style individualism coupled with a vibrant ecosystem.
"One key driver for all Israeli innovation is some innate urge to "be your own man," think out of the box and make your dream happen. Obviously, there are additional strong drivers in the cyber security space. Israel's cybertech industry has grown out of real, not just theoretical, experience with national threats of all types. It is supported by an entire innovation ecosystem consisting of government agencies, the IDF, with its cyber intelligence unit 8200, the local authorities, the universities, VCs, and international and local companies. Even early education plays a role – mathematically talented children are identified early and high school exit exams are on par with university level studies elsewhere. This collaborative space produces top talent, promotes unconventional thinking, stimulates creativity and creates an atmosphere where start-ups and entrepreneurs can validate and refine their ideas very quickly."
Cyberweek at Tel Aviv University
Global cybersecurity thought-leaders gathered at Tel Aviv University last week for the 6th Annual International Cybersecurity Conference. The weeklong event brought together policy makers, entrepreneurs, investors and academics to discuss and debate the plethora of cybersecurity threats facing the international community today, and how best to prevent them.
As part of the event, Israel and the US signed a cyber defence declaration "calling for real-time operational connectivity through respective Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTS) of both nations."
The declaration was signed by Israel's Head of National Cyber Directorate (NCD), Eviatar Matania and Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary of the US Department for Homeland Security (DHS).
"The declaration expresses the criticality of joining forces between countries for the benefit of dealing effectively with common threats in the cyber domain. In particular, [it expresses] the obligation of the governments of Israel and the US to broaden and deepen bilateral cooperation in the field of cyber defense," a statement released by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office said.
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