No company nor country is immune from cyber threats: Yuval Steinitz announces at CyberTech that Israel’s Electric Authority had experienced a cyber attack
Israel’s annual CyberTech convention kicked off today in Tel Aviv with an estimated 10,800 cyber security professionals walking through the halls of the city’s exhibition center.
Most surprisingly, Israeli Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz was reported to have announced at Tuesday’s final panel that Israel’s Electric Authority had experienced a cyber attack over the course of the past two days, and was still working on countering the assault. He did not say if any significant damage had been documented before the virus was discovered.
The thought thread that carried throughout the various speakers revolved around the need to alter the global approach to cyber security, with an emphasis on deepening cooperation between cyber defense professionals and even governments. U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro told the audience that, “The landscape of cyber security is evolving and our countries need to cooperate in leading the way.” CyberArk’s CEO Udi Mokady emphasized the point, saying that while he views Israel as a hub for cyber security, the community here needs to embrace the global actors to coordinate on improving cyber defense capabilities.
Organized by Israel Defense, the event marks the convergence of many of the biggest names in the field, with representatives from the public and private sectors. Sponsors for the convention included big names like EMC2, RSA, CyberArk, Check Point, IBM, Israel Aerospace Industries, and others.
After braving long lines in the cold and rain of the morning due to the added security measures for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who spoke at the opening talk of the event, guests piled in to listen to talks by industry leaders and walk through the maze of stalls in the exhibition area.
Adjusting to a world without perimeters
In addition to the calls for changing the way that information on threats is shared within the community, the speakers challenged the traditional concept of building strong defenses to keep hackers out of their networks, highlighting the need for more attention on dealing with threats once they have made it past the barriers.
Hewlett-Packard Enterprises’ SVP and GM for Security Products Sue Barsamian told the crowd that, “We are in an era where everyone has to assume that they’ve been breached,” before adding that, “In a perimeter-less world, more security has to be built in. Build it in, not bolt it on.”
Connectivity was a widely discussed topic, with separate panels on the Internet of Things and Internet of Vehicles. In talking about the challenges facing cyber security professionals in protecting these ecosystems, Applause’s Roy Solomon, Laurence Pitt of Symantec, Tal Steinhartz who serves as CTO at the Israeli National Cyber Bureau (INCB), and Yossi Atias of Dojo Labs spoke with Dr. Dorit Dor about how the fragmentation of different protocols being used in the field make it difficult to develop holistic solutions.
While their companies are all working on making the ecosystem safer, Pitt noted that it will likely take time for the market to comply with smarter security practices, saying that, “When vendors start seeing security as part of doing business is when we’ll see solutions really being implemented.”
Standing out at CyberTech with a large delegation was Japan. The Japanese foreign trade office JETRO set up a spacious, closed off meeting space where Israeli cyber security companies had a chance to speak with the impressive number of Japanese firms that had come to Israel looking for partnership opportunities.
Other displays that demonstrated Japan’s efforts to build a stronger relationship with Israel included JETRO being a premium sponsor for the convention and Ambassador Koji Tomita joining the day’s closing panel.