Israel Electric Corp. sets up cybersecurity center in New York

Cyber-Gym program aims to train US companies to fend off and cope with hacks to critical infrastructure

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

An illustrative photo of an electricity company control room. (Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)
An illustrative photo of an electricity company control room. (Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)

Israel Electric Corp. on Thursday set up its first cybersecurity training facility in New York with the aim of helping US companies and utilities to fend off hackers. The center is modeled on other sites the utility has already set up in Israel, Europe, Asia and Australia.

The idea behind the so called Cyber-Gym training program is to duplicate real-world conditions in which hackers might try to break into the company’s systems — with teams simulating real-time scenarios and others practicing company reactions.

The training program targets companies operating in critical industries like energy, manufacturing, infrastructure firms, banking, finance and insurance enterprises  — which are under constant threat of hacking and where a successful attack could prove catastrophic.

The Cyber-Gym program was set up in 2013 by the Israel Electric Corp. together with Israeli cybersecurity company Cyber Control to protect critical systems in critical industries.

The program provides services to the IEC, training it to fend off the millions of cyber-attacks it experiences a month, the company said in a statement, as well as international firms that are already using the firm’s training tools. The services are tailor-made for each client and international companies are already using them, the statement said.

The New York facility is equipped with the proprietary technologies developed as part of the program to manage complex cybersecurity situations and long-term training programs.

“This is a significant strategic step,” IEC chairman Yiftach Ron-Tal said in a statement. He said setting up the Cyber-Gym in the US presented the IEC with an important business opportunity, and a step toward the IEC expanding its activities in North America.

Last week, Israel’s parliament approved a reform, hailed as “historic,” of the nation’s electricity sector that aims to increase competition and transform Israel Electric Corp., the nation’s main electricity utility, into a more streamlined and efficient company. Setting up the Cyber-Gym program is part of the firm’s effort to diversify income as competition looms.

Ofir Hason, the CEO of Cyber Control, said that the opening of the center in New York will strengthen the program’s position as a leader in protecting critical infrastructures. “New York is the perfect location to offer our training program,” he said in the statement. “We have a huge advantage in a market that is looking to improve its cybersecurity capabilities.”

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