Israel Thwarted Numerous Cyberattacks From All Over the World, Shin Bet Security Chief Says

According to Israel's Shin Bet security chief, cybersecurity is Israel's main tool against terror

Illustration: A member of military cyber defense works on a computer during the 10th International Cybersecurity Forum in Lille on January 23, 2018.
PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP

The Shin Bet has thwarted numerous cyberattacks against Israeli targets from all over the world over the past year, the Israeli security service’s chief, Nadav Argaman said on Tuesday.

“Cybersecurity is our main tool in daily work to thwart terror,” he said. “As of today, the ability of rivals to take shortcuts to acquire groundbreaking technologies, which in past they could not do, compels us to be better than we used to be. Therefore, we must be at the global front of technology and that is what we are trying to do and working on daily.”

Argaman said that Israel is one of the leading powers when it comes to countering cyberwarfare, led by the defense establishment and the Israeli intelligence community, which collaborates with its counterparts abroad. “The service has very significant cyberdefense and cyberattack ability, and we have thwarted cyberattacks against Israeli systems launched from all over the world,” said Argaman at Cybertech TLV 18 in Tel Aviv.

Israel announced last April that its Cyber Defense Authority had thwarted a major attack on the country’s computer networks.

Malicious emails had been sent from what turned out to be the servers of an academic institution and a private company to 120 Israeli institutions, government offices and individuals. The attackers tried to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Word. Following the attack, the Cyber Defense Authority published directives for individuals and institutions on its website on how to foil cyberattacks.

In 2016 Israeli cybersecurity products and services comprised about 10% of the entire global market. However, the STKI research company warned last year that at the same time that cyberthreats to national security and the Israeli economy are growing, Israel is facing an acute shortage of some1,600 professionals in the cybersecurity field.

Argaman said that in its efforts to attract the best minds in the country, the security agency is trying to match the conditions that the private sector offers. “The ability to turn a technological dream into reality and to bring significant added value for the good of Israel is a combination that no private company can offer,” he said.

Amitai Ziv contributed to this report.