Israeli cyber firms show their wares in Paris

Cyber security Photo: Shutterstock

At an event backed by the France-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Israeli cyber-security pioneers met CISOs from major French corporations.

Cyber-security ecosystem members from Israel at a recent B2B forum in Paris showed they are moving at least as quickly as their hacker targets. And French investors, partners and clients at this niche market showcase appreciated the sharp targeting strategy of symposiarch Dominique Bourra, backed by the France-Israel Chamber of Commerce. As Bourra himself commented, “there are no tourists at this conference.”

Imagine, professional hackers succeed in breaking into a national railroad network in Europe and with a few deft keyboard maneuvers send two trains into a head-on crash. Don’t laugh. By gaining control of one webcam network on a single train, they could do it, according to Israeli-born Aviram Jenik, CEO of Beyond Security, a cyber-security firm based in Cupertino, California, with R&D facilities in Raanana, Israel, one of 14 Israeli firms at the Paris forum.

“We develop tools to conduct vulnerability assessment and management to find the weak spot in the client’s network before it is targeted by hackers,” Jenik explained in-between round table discussions, at the Paris conference. “It is a race between the good guys, who are our clients, and the bad guys who target them.”

The market is much less elitist than ten years ago, for example, when fewer CS products and solutions were needed. Today, in industrial and government structures, everything is connected via computer networks; therefore, everything can be hacked.

“In a programmable world, more and more solutions are needed,” said Marcel Bomans, from Strategic Partnerships, Corporate Strategy and Development at Nokia. “No single company has all the solutions, so the best response is in cyber security ecosystems.”

Nokia has invested heavily in Team 8, which Bomans called “one of the most promising cyber start-ups in Israel, and I must state that along with certain American companies, the Israelis are the best players in cyber-security operational technology (OT, as opposed to IT). And we are not simply financial investors; we are industrial partners.”

That was a mouthful. But there is a lot more. Accenture Security is a major worldwide player in this field. They bought Israeli company Maglan and have also invested in Team 8.

“Cyber attackers are much smarter than we originally thought,” Shai Blitzblau, president and founder of Maglan, told the 150 or so participants. “From 30 to 50 critical web systems are attacked in France every day. But before applying a solution, you must do forensic analysis to find the problems. This is a skill. You don’t take aspirin before you have a headache, right?”

Nobody laughed. They knew exactly what he was talking about.

“There are a lot of cyber experts in the field,” Blitzblau continued. “Everyone is an expert. But solutions are constantly evolving, and 97% of cyber security start-ups fail. There are also a lot of hackers out there.”

He explained there are three basic types of hackers: people involved in government-sponsored activity or radical group terrorism; criminals out to steal huge amounts of money; and former employees out for revenge for a host of not-so-nice reasons. And when they join forces, the threat is even more devastating.

Another guest speaker was Professor Eli Biham, head of the cyber security research center at the Technion Institute in Haifa, a man with a sense of humor. “It is easier than most people think to hack into companies,” he said. “Do I do that? No, it's illegal! But remember that most programmers were never taught to write secure software. We teach people to do that at the Technion.”

Hackers target much more than applications and critical infrastructure. They also hit email networking. For Mike Polatsek, head of Cybeready, networking is about people. “The weakest link in the security chain is the human link,” he said. “80% of cyber-attacks come through people.”

His company provides solutions for end-users to identify and prevent phishing attacks, based on emails. It was his first time at this annual event.

Regular visitors include very discrete, high-level CISOs from major French CAC-40 groups that should not be identified.

One rapidly developing field is the operational technology behind autonomous cars. Bomans commented, “Imagine if a hacker can put on the brakes of an autonomous car? Situations like this are being played out in the Israeli ecosystems through the eyes of the hackers.

“Look, years ago, the first automated systems used sensors to open garage doors, for example. They had no security systems. But today, they need security, because they can be hacked. Apply that reasoning on a massive industrial level, and you see how much work there is for cyber security companies.”

“This is like an haute couture fashion show showing the six month or one year trends in the cyber security world to a very select audience,” commented Bourra.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on March 26, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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Cyber security Photo: Shutterstock
Cyber security Photo: Shutterstock
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