Ex-Mossad chief joins Israeli cybersecurity firm NanoLock

Tamir Pardo to serve on startup’s security advisory board; meanwhile, XM Cyber, Pardo’s own company, to be sold to German multinational

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Tech Israel editor and reporter.

Former Mossad director Tamir Pardo participates in the Meir Dagan Conference for Strategy and Defense at the Netanya Academic College, March 21, 2018. (Meir Vaaknin/Flash90)
Former Mossad director Tamir Pardo participates in the Meir Dagan Conference for Strategy and Defense at the Netanya Academic College, March 21, 2018. (Meir Vaaknin/Flash90)

Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo is joining Israeli cybersecurity startup NanoLock as a member of the company’s security advisory board, the company announced Monday.

NanoLock said in a statement that Pardo’s view of the cyberthreat landscape “aligns” well with the company and the former Mossad head, who served from 2006-2011, will be “instrumental in fueling continued growth in the US, Europe, and Japan, where the company has recently signed deals with major new customers.”

Founded in 2017, NanoLock secured connected devices for industrial and critical infrastructure companies like energy, water, and transportation firms, often state-owned. The Hod Hasharon-based company says it works with partners in Japan, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, India, Singapore, Israel, and the US.

“Cyberattacks are incredibly dangerous because you can destroy infrastructure for a very cheap price without a single bullet or rocket,” Pardo said in the statement. It is “so crucial we develop solutions that comprehensively block the hackers from executing their desired actions, with any possible attack vector.

He said he looked “forward to helping NanoLock scale their device-level solution so global critical infrastructures are safe from compromise.”

“With his decades of intelligence and cybersecurity experience, Mr. Pardo will add immense value to our advisory board as we prepare our customers for the worsening cyber chaos,” said Eran Fine, CEO and co-founder of NanoLock.

According to Israeli cyber firm Check Point Security, cyber attacks increased by 40 percent globally in 2021, as compared to 2020, with one out of every 61 organizations worldwide impacted by ransomware each week. The 2022 report said the targeted organizations saw about 900 cyber attacks a week.

Pardo’s move to Nanolock comes just six months after the company he co-founded, XM Cyber, entered into an agreement to be acquired by Germany’s Schwarz Group, a multinational retail operation with some $140 billion in reported annual revenue, for $700 million.

The company continues to operate independently and offer its products under its current brand and structure. The Herzliya-based company approaches cyber threats from a hacker’s point of view and its automated advanced persistent threat simulation platform works to find new exposures, exploitable vulnerabilities and credentials, misconfigurations, and user activities that could potentially put organizations at risk of an attack.

XM Cyber, (XM stands for ex-Mossad) was founded in 2016 by Pardo, Noam Erez, a 25-year veteran of the Israeli intelligence community, and Boaz Gorodissky, a 30-year veteran of the community.

These companies are part of the Israeli tech ecosystem’s strongest sector, cybersecurity, where startups raised a record $8.8 billion. Eleven new cybersecurity unicorns, or private companies valued at $1 billion or more, were minted in 2021, according to the Israel National Cyber Directorate.

The annual 2021 funding figure accounts for 40% of the total funds raised by cybersecurity firms worldwide last year, according to the data.

Overall cybersecurity exports from Israel were estimated at $11 billion in 2021, according to Israeli Export Institute data.

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