Netanyahu to discuss cybersecurity with Trump
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Netanyahu to discuss cybersecurity with Trump

Speaking at TA conference, PM says he will push idea of ‘like-minded governments’ banding together on his upcoming Washington trip

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Cybertech 2017 Conference and Exhibition, in Tel Aviv, January 31, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Cybertech 2017 Conference and Exhibition, in Tel Aviv, January 31, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he plans to discuss increased US-Israeli collaboration on cybersecurity during his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump in Washington.

“I will raise the subject of collaboration in cybersecurity within my upcoming visit with Trump,” he told a cyberconference in Tel Aviv. He said he has already discussed some of this with Rudy Giuliani, who is the special adviser to president Trump on cybersecurity, when he visited Israel last week.

Referring to the growing intensity of cyberattacks, Netanyahu said, “What you see today is going to get a lot worse in the future if we don’t band together. That is why I intend to raise the subject and discuss the subject of cooperation in cybersecurity in my upcoming visit in Washington with President Trump,” he said.

Netanyahu is set to travel to Washington, DC, for his first meeting with Trump on February 15, the White House announced Monday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Cybertech Israel Conference and Exhibition, in Tel Aviv on January 31, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Cybertech Israel Conference and Exhibition, in Tel Aviv on January 31, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israel and the US, the leading players in the fight for cybersecurity, should join forces, the prime minister said.

“It is not possible as yet to have a very broad cooperation for cybersecurity between many governments, but it is important to have cooperation with some governments and especially like-minded governments. We need to expand and recognize that there is a core interest of civilized and democratic countries to protect themselves and their citizens against cyberattacks.”

Sixty-five new cyber startups were set up in Israel in 2016, and Israel maintained its leading position as a global center of cybersecurity innovation, a report by the nonprofit Start-Up Nation Central revealed.

As the world moves toward greater digitalization, it becomes more vulnerable to cyberattacks. At the end of 2015 hackers shut down power in Ukraine. In February 2016 more than $80 million was stolen from Bangladesh’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and US intelligence services have blamed Russia for hacking attacks during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

State-sponsored attacks are more intense than those perpetuated by individual hackers, according to Erez Kreiner, a former director of information security at Israel’s Shin Bet security service. Nations have more resources and less fear of being discovered. In addition, as opposed to conventional weapons, for cyberwarfare requires less investment and development times are faster.

Israel’s Cybertech 2017 Conference opened Monday and runs through February 1.

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