Thousands Attend International Cyber Security Conference at Tel Aviv University
Over 5,000 participants from 48 countries took part in the fourth annual Cyber Security Conference held at Tel Aviv University this past Sunday and Monday.
The gathering brought together some of the greatest minds in the hi-tech industry, as well as decision makers from Israel around the world.
The two senior members of government who lead Israel in the Operation Protective Edge both discussed the element of Cyber Warfare in the modern battlefield.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized where the main cyber threat is coming from – ““We want to make clear that the country behind the cyber-attacks against Israel is Iran ... Iran is the source of most of the attacks against Israel ... and we are not the only targets in the cyber field ... They take the opportunity against many other countries around the world.” He added that “Cyber defense solutions will serve as the essential basis for human development and economic growth in the next century.”
Israeli Minister of Defense, Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon, said “Cyber space allows for asymmetrical activity ... but just as our enemies can harm our systems, we can hurt theirs. It is possible to hurt a state and its systems to the point of overcoming it but we need very high intelligence capabilities to know exactly who has attacked us.”
In a candid interview on stage, former Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed his conviction that Israel's human capital would keep it at the forefront of innovationBattling the threat today, requires investing in people: "The quality edge is what's hidden in our brains," he said.
Among the guests from overseas, Gen. (Ret.) Keith Alexander, CEO and President, IronNet Former Director National Security Agency (NSA), who stressed the need for partnerships in order to come up with a comprehensive solution to take the cyber threat off the table. He said that “no single country. No single company” can solve this by themselves. In order to begin solving this problem, he noted the need for a defensible cloud-based architecture, training, situational awareness, cyber legislation and effective command and control.
Christopher Painter, Coordinator of Cyber Issues from the US State Department said: "We know there are a lot of other actors in Cyberspace, including cyber criminals…it's such a transnational issue that we need to take steps not act just domestically but internationally."
NATO Ambassador Sorin Ducaru said that cyber security has emerged as a major part of NATO's operations. "NATO understands that cyber security is s a team sport," he said. "Cyber defense is now part of collective defense for NATO allies."
Over 100 companies from around the globe, both well established and start-ups, were also represented at the Conference. Some used the gathering to make some key announcements. Qualcomm, for example, stated they are unveiling a new technology called SafeSwitch which enables mobile device users to remotely lock mobile devices if they are lost or stolen and unlock them if found.
The Conference was also proud to host the next generation of cyber experts. Over 600 students who study the subject as part of their high school curricula were on hand for some special sessions. Israel’s Minister of Education, Shay Piron was on hand to greet them.
The Conference is headed by the Yuval Ne’eman Workshop for Science, Technology & Security and the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center at TAU in cooperation with the National Cyber Bureau at the Prime Minister’s Office.