Israel Electric inks deal to help safeguard Tokyo Olympics from cyberattack

Israel Electric inks deal to help safeguard Tokyo Olympics from cyberattack

IEC signs agreement with Japanese energy utility to secure critical infrastructure during games, also launches new set of cybersecurity tools at Cybertech 2020 confab in Tel Aviv

Israel Electric Corp's chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal, at the Cybertech 2020 conference on Jan. 29, (Courtesy)
Israel Electric Corp's chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal, at the Cybertech 2020 conference on Jan. 29, (Courtesy)

Israel Electric Corporation (IEC), the nation’s main electricity provider, has signed an agreement with a leading energy utility in Japan to help it secure infrastructure against cyberattacks during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and further, the chairman of the Israeli utility told a gathering of officials, entrepreneurs and investors at a cybersecurity conference in Tel Aviv.

“A Japanese top energy utility corporate, and IEC have signed a collaboration agreement for cyber services, including support at the Tokyo Olympics,” Yiftah Ron-Tal, of the IEC, said at the Cybertech 2020 conference on Wednesday, without disclosing the name of the Japanese corporation.

Yosi Shneck, the head of cyber entrepreneurship and business development at the Israeli firm, said the idea behind the deal was to help the Japanese company secure its critical infrastructure during the Olympic games and for additional cooperation even after the games are over.

The Israeli energy firm has similar cooperation agreements with an electricity producer in Canada and a European utility, he explained in an interview with The Times of Israel on the sidelines of the conference.

Israel Electric Corp.’s Yosi Shneck, the head of the cyber entrepreneurship and business development at Cybertech 2020 in Tel Aviv; Jan. 29, 2020. (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)

On Wednesday, Israel Electric launched a suite of new cybersecurity products and services that include both software and hardware to protect the energy industry from cyberattacks.

The products “don’t replace” the traditional cybersecurity solutions available in the market, Shneck explained, but create “an additional layer that sits on top” of other products, and increase the ability of organizations that use industrial control systems to protect their infrastructure from cyberattacks.

The IEC was subject to an average 11,000 suspected cyber events per second in 2019, and is one of the most targeted organizations for cyberattacks in the world, Ron-Tal told the conference attendees Wednesday.

This huge exposure to cyberattacks has caused the IEC to develop its latest set of cybersecurity tools that’s marketing globally, Shneck told The Times of Israel.

Traditional cybersecurity tools used by the IEC were not enough to secure its infrastructure, he added. “They didn’t solve our problem of being totally protected,” he said. When the firm simulated attacks and tried to penetrate its systems, it “always succeeded.” And that’s how the latest suite of products was developed.

At the first level, the software creates for the top management of the firm — those people who generally don’t understand the enormity of the threat posed — a clear picture of what has been compromised. “We create what we call a cyber battle picture,” that is not a snapshot at a certain point of time, but a “continuous risk assessment of the firm.”

The products are also able to gather information about vulnerabilities stemming from the supply chains of the firm and calculate the “butterfly effect” of events happening around the world on the firm, he said.

The systems also use artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that are able to prioritize cybersecurity events and decide whether the incidents are false or a real alarm, he said.

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