Ex-Israeli spy chief enlists top hackers for new cybersecurity firm

Company started by Tamir Pardo keeps corporate networks safe from malicious attacks by imitating real hackers

Tamir Pardo (photo credit: David Vaaknin/POOL/FLASH90)
Tamir Pardo (photo credit: David Vaaknin/POOL/FLASH90)

Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo said he has assembled a team of Israeli hackers for his new cybersecurity company that takes an innovative approach to securing networks from malicious attacks by imitating real hackers.

Pardo told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday that he had recruited a team of 30 hackers from the country’s most elite security and intelligence services to work at his firm, XM Cyber.

Unlike other cybersecurity firms that offer a one-time hacker-simulated attack on a network to expose its vulnerabilities, XM Cyber’s platform continuously launches simulated attacks to expose a network’s weaknesses.

Pardo in the interview warned that many large corporations have dangerously lax cybersecurity measures in place.

“I thought there are so many companies with great products but they are not focusing on the right question,” Pardo said. “The real question is are my crown jewels really protected.”

He emphasized that XM Cyber’s platform was “on site doing the job done by human hackers.”

Last week, Pardo also warned cities against lax cybersecurity measures at the Federation of Local Authorities Muni-Expo in Tel Aviv.

“You can destroy a country and win a war without ever firing a single shot. In the next war, our enemies won’t need fighter jets and rockets. They can hit us hard with cyber-attacks and disable all of the systems here,” said Pardo, who spoke at the event as a part of the Congress of Local Authorities and the Jewish National Fund.

Photo of Tamir Pardo, right, former director of Mossad, speaking to attendees at The Federation of Local Authorities second bi-annual conference at the Tel Aviv convention center on Feb 13. (Courtesy)

Pardo said it was becoming increasingly difficult to prevent security breaches because they are tough to trace, citing as an example the alleged involvement of Russia in manipulating the results of the 2016 US elections.

He urged governments to take on a greater role in managing these threats themselves rather than relying on the corporate sector.

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