Israel Offers a Model for Serious National Cybersecurity

Netanyahu administration got serious about digital threats, now leads world in detection, prevention

If the Trump administration needs a model for a cybersecurity policy, it needs to look no further than its good friend in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In 2011, correctly understanding that the world was heading for a cybersecurity calamity, the Israel prime minister’s office approached Tel Aviv University’s retired Major General and Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel to review Israeli national cyberpolicy. Prof. Ben-Israel’s report, which included the recommendation of positioning Israel as one of the top five global powers in cyber expertise by 2015, was adopted. That led to the establishment of the Israel National Cyber Bureau, with Prof. Ben-Israel as its founding director.

At the same time, Tel Aviv University was also expending significant resources to strengthen its position in the field of cybersecurity. The university’s cyber group was advancing pioneering research and transferring its knowledge to decision-makers in the government and to security-technology firms.

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Among other advances in policy, the group created a unique tool called The Senior Cyber Forum, which brings together the top 100 CEOs and VP of Israeli cybersecurity companies — including Microsoft, Google and Hewlett-Packard — with university researchers from such institutions as MIT and Johns Hopkins, government representatives, and venture capitalists to break down traditional barriers and advance multi-disciplinary research.

This enabled scientists, engineers, and business and policy experts to work together to find fresh solutions to complex problems.

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The results have been astounding. The 30-plus groups have launched and conducted some of the world’s most advanced cybersecurity investigations into cloud computing, networks, image and video recognition, cryptography, secured internet of things (IoT), legal protocols, public security, and user behavior.

In cloud computing, they have developed methods that will verify complex outsourced computations used by multiple cloud providers that guarantee correct answers, even if many of the cloud servers are in collusion.

In networking, they have developed critical infrastructure that can find actionable geometric representations of both normal and deviant behavior in networking data and, at the same time, train the system to extract heterogeneous features, identify various normal profiles, and detect patterns that deviate from them. This approach is substantially more accurate than Bayesian network baselining, which is the technique used by the leading network behavior analytics in our market today.

In network currency, they have developed an improved alternative to Bitcoin, based on a privacy-preserving digital currency that enables instantaneous payments across the Internet without any central trusted body, thus avoiding a single point of failure, and without compromising the privacy of consumers and merchants.

In imaging and video recognition, they have developed algorithms that will recognize faces in unconstrained videos. While related to face recognition in still images, video has its own unique characteristics and requirements, yet the teams are developing novel set-to-set similarity measures that employ multiple classifiers and multiple descriptors to capture the appearance of an individual’s face as depicted in a video clip through localization, recognition and pose estimation of deformable, articulated and entangled 3D geometric objects in cluttered scenes with high levels of noise and occlusions. One likely outcome is the password-free silver bullet we have all been seeking.

The teams are building ultra-fast, highly efficient cryptographic functions that can be implemented by computationally weak devices, such as smartphones, smart cards, IoT sensors, or RFIDs, while still providing strong cybersecurity. This approach should become part of the foundation for critical IoT security in the future.[lz_pagination]

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