How Israel is turning part of the Negev Desert into a cyber city

By May 20 2016, 14:06 Latest News No Comments

BeershebaBeersheba2Israel is developing a cyber city in the middle of the Negev Desert, which is set to cement the country’s place as a major digital power, the Washington Post reported this week.

The new development in the city of Beersheba will concentrate some of the country’s top talent from the military, academia and business in an area of just a few square miles. The initiative is unique in that no other country is so purposefully integrating its private, scholarly, government, military and cyber expertise.

Israel is a nation of 8 million people with little in the way of natural resources, but in global private investment into cyber-security firms, it is second only to the United States, with half a billion dollars flowing to the sector annually.

Israel has not only vowed to repel the thousands of daily hack attacks against targets as diverse as the electric grid and ATMs, but it has also promised to build its commercial cybersector into an economic powerhouse.

The article explains that Israel is also at the cutting edge of cyberoffence, developing stealthy computer weapons to penetrate its enemies’ networks. The United States and Israel, working together, launched the world’s most destructive cyberweapon known to date, Stuxnet.

Eviatar Matania, the head of the National Cyber Bureau, explained what was behind Israel’s innovation drive in the field of cyber-security: “First, we have more enemies than others. We understand that the cyber-threat is here and now. Second, a lot of Israel’s high-tech and innovation culture is in cyber. This is where we can gain an advantage over other countries in defending ourselves. And thus, we see cyber not just as a threat to mitigate, but also as one of our economic engines”.

A cyber emergency response team, which was launched in 2014 to respond to cyber crises, will be housed in the midst of the booming development of Beersheba. It is part of the National Cyber Security Authority, which is mandated to protect all private-sector systems.

Nearby, next to a new advanced technology park that already houses cyber-firm incubators and global companies such as PayPal, Lockheed Martin and Deutsche Telekom, a construction site that will become the headquarters of the Israeli military’s cyber-defenders is being prepared. In addition, Israel’s elite cyber-attack branch — the army’s Unit 8200 — will also be located here.

The Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, will also be joining the complex, as well as Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, which is the nation’s top school for cyber-security. The university will also work with the cyber-response team.

Click here to read the full article in the Washington Post.

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