Gov't sets up national cybernetic taskforce

The taskforce's main responsibility will be to expand defense of vital infrastructure networks against cybernetic attacks.

The government today established a national cybernetic taskforce to encourage and develop cybernetics and to turn Israel into a global center of knowledge, in cooperation with academia, industry, and the defense establishment. The taskforce's main responsibility will be to expand Israel's ability to defend vital infrastructure networks against cybernetic attacks perpetrated by foreign countries and terrorist organizations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled the taskforce at a press conference today.

The Prime Minister Office's said that Israeli electronic networks were under permanent threat, and cited an attack that shut down the Bank of Israel's website in 2008, and attacks by hackers in June 2010, after the Turkish flotilla incident, against many sites, including that of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality.

Netanyahu instructed the allocation of a special budget to implement a five-year plan to place Israel at the global forefront in this field. The plan includes investments in basic R&D, the establishment of a super computer-based center at an Israeli university, the establishment of academic centers of excellence, accelerated activity to bring researchers and academics back to Israel, significantly increasing the number of cybernetics students, and upgrading university research infrastructures.

The plan will also encourage the business sector, especially high tech, to develop technologies to give Israel a significant advantage in the field. The government will remove export impediments on cybernetic developments and the security establishment will increase assistance for the development of cybernetic technologies by private industry.

National Research and Development Council director Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael headed the team that recommended establishment of the cybernetic task force. He told "Globes", "We're engaged on the defensive side. We cannot discuss specific cyber attacks, not because there weren’t any, but because I don’t see the point. But I can assure you that we'll meet any cyber attack. UK Prime Minister David Cameron told me that they were cutting back everything, except for cyber defense, in which they were investing heavily. We will also invest hundreds of millions of shekels."

"Globes": What is the threat against Israel?

Ben-Yisrael: "Threats can come from various directions. We're very organized to deal with contemporary and future threats. One of an animal's most important tasks is to spot threats in time and prepare to meet them. This is true for animals and it is true for nations, and it is true for the Jewish nation, which has not always known to prepare properly."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on May 18, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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