‘Winter is still coming,’ cyber chief warns on hacking threats
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‘Winter is still coming,’ cyber chief warns on hacking threats

Yigal Unna, the director of the National Cyber Directorate, says Israel is on the verge of setting out framework for a ‘state level defense shield’

Yigal Unna, the director of Israel's National Cyber Directorate, speaking at Cyber Week, June 20, 2018 (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)
Yigal Unna, the director of Israel's National Cyber Directorate, speaking at Cyber Week, June 20, 2018 (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)

Israel is on the verge of laying out a framework for a “state level defense shield” to raise the level of readiness against threats, the nation’s cybersecurity chief said on Wednesday, warning that the world hasn’t yet seen the worst of the damage hackers can wreak and that “winter is still coming.”

Yigal Unna, the director of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, said that the goals of this shield will be ensuring detection, investigation and mitigation of threats against civilian targets and government-owned companies and utilities, and will also include expanding the data-sharing network the nation already has in place, with some 600 trusted members, including academics, industries and government entities, sharing experiences and incidents to mitigate damage and risks.

He also said that a first draft of a new cyber law will be submitted on Wednesday  that “formalizes what we do today” and sets up a framework of what Israel’s civilian and government sphere should be doing for cybersecurity. He did not provide further details.

Speaking at Cyber Week 2018, a weeklong event that gathered some 8,000 attendees from 66 nations, Unna said that Israel is securing its cyber space by creating a three-layer framework: mitigating and reducing attacks by undertaking what he called protective steps of “basic hygiene”; understanding that everything will eventually be attacked, and thus working on resilience and making sure that after an attack recovery will be swift; and realizing that at the end of the day, it is humans and their behaviors that are behind cyberattacks.

To do all of this, Israel is investing in human capital and academic research, as well as making sure information and knowledge is shared between academia, the army and industry as well as with other nations, he said.

“We are looking for more cooperation,” he said. “We are looking for partnerships. United you stand, divided you fall.”

The idea is to build international cooperation to fight the cyber threat, he said, as everything is vulnerable, from airlines to medical devices.

If you are flying back home, he told the audience jestingly, “an old Dakota with propeller engines is your best chance; otherwise take a sleeping pill and hope for the best.”

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