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Israel security chief: We foiled cyberattacks from all over the world in 2017

Israeli Security Agency Director Nadav Argaman revealed on Tuesday that his agency has foiled cyberattacks against Israeli systems from various sources around the world in the past year.

Speaking to reporters at the Cybertech 2018 conference, Argaman elaborated on Israel’s cyber activities and explained how they have become an integral part of the agency’s process of thwarting terror attacks.

“Israel is one of the leading cyber powers in the world,” he said. “We [Israel] are of course working with the intelligence services and security establishments around the world. We, as an organization, have very significant cyber capabilities, both defensive and offensive.”


“In the past year, we’ve foiled cyberattacks against Israeli systems from all over the world,” he added. “Today, cyber is a main tool for us in our daily work of thwarting terrorism.”

A senior official told Fox News that all the attacks that were spotted were foiled without damaging the various systems they were aiming to break. The same senior official refused to reveal who was responsible to the attempts, and what exactly they were targeting.

However, a recent report by Israel’s National Cyber Security Authority, revealed that in 2016 and 2017 35 percent of all cyberattacks on Israel targeted government offices, while 25 percent of the attacks were aimed at technology companies and 10 percent targeted the finance industry. In 2017 Israel dealt with 1,400 attempts, all foiled by the joint work of various cyber and security authorities.


The Israeli security Agency (otherwise known by the Hebrew abbreviation – Shin Bet) presented at the conference for the third time. The organization presented its most advanced VR experience that gave a glimpse into its daily activity. It combined advanced video, sound and special effects, in an interactive way that enables the user to engage in a real-life decision-making process as the person conducting the operation. In the VR experience, the user must thwart an attack within a limited time and perform intelligence work in real time. The experience illustrates the reality faced by the ISA in foiling terrorist attacks and saving lives.

According to the senior official, many of the visitors have succeeded in capturing the “assailant” – an imaginary ISIS operative that smuggled a large explosive device into Israel. However, the official joked “we made it easier. It’s much harder in real life.”

During the conference opening session, the newly-appointed director general at the Israel National Cyber Authority, Yigal Unna, warned that the cyber-attack surface is “getting wider” and the risk is “getting darker” with hackers motivated by both financial and political purposes. As more devices get connected, “malicious actors” get an advantage, he said.


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