Israel a model of innovation, readiness in military, academic cyber

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Trainees work in front of their computers at the "Cyber Gym" center, where IT and infrastructure company employees train to defend against cyber attacks on October 30, 2013 near the Israeli city of Hadera. The facility, a series of small buildings in the shadow of the looming Orot Rabin power station on Israel's northern coastline, was inaugurated this month by the Israel Electric Corp (IEC), which has experienced its fair share of cyber attacks. (Photo Credit: MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

A look at the mandates, tasks and competences of Israel’s cybersecurity measures and institutions finds the country at the forefront of transparency, innovation and investment in digital security infrastructure.

The report, by Deborah Housen-Couriel for the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, is part of a series on national organizational models for ensuring cybersecurity.

With widespread broadband penetration and Internet utilization, Israel offers many platforms for intra-governmental activity, government-to-citizen and citizen-to-government fora, and the infrastructure for provision of services to the public. Supporting this are secure portal and biometric data initiatives.

With an online-savvy population and the challenges of military and civilian threats, Israel launched a National Cyber Bureau and National Cyber Security Authority (together constituting the National Cyber Directorate and operating under the prime minister’s office) as a national advisory and consolidating body for cybersecurity, while the Israeli Defense Forces approaches cyberspace as a military realm. 

Another body, the NCSA, conducts, operates and implements operational defensive efforts in cyberspace at the national level and acts as a single point of contact for international corporations, cybersecurity companies and other cyber event readiness teams. The National Information Security Agency helps regulate governmental and private- sector bodies in regards to the protection of critical infrastructure, but its authorities are transitioning to the NCSA.

A series of laws, directives and regulations have codified information security measures, defined language for cyberspace activity, established counterterrorism law, and set accreditations guidelines for cyber professions. 

Hundreds of private-sector cybersecurity companies, as well as many research universities, contribute to dedicated cyber centres, and the country promotes a number of cybersecurity programs at the secondary school level. This helps fuel the country’s technological innovation and readiness.

The complete report can be found at CCDCOE.org.