Cyber Week 2015: The 5th Annual International Cybersecurity Conference at TAU

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro Discuss the Emerging “Cyber Revolution” at Tel Aviv University conference
08 July 2015
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the 5th Annual International Cybersecurity Conference at TAU. Photo: Chen Galili

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Israel's technological and cybersecurity prowess but stressed the urgency for constant, consistent progress in the field at Cyber Week, the 5th Annual International Cybersecurity Conference, which took place June 22-25 at Tel Aviv University.


"We are in the throes of great change," said Netanyahu. "We're moving from atoms to bits, from place to space. I don't want to say that we’re walking in the clouds, but we sort of are. And it requires that we be at the cusp, the edge, of innovation all the time."


Cyber Week, held jointly by TAU's Yuval Ne'eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security, TAU's Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center (ICRC), the National Cyber Bureau, and the Prime Minister's Office, brings together leading international cyber experts, policymakers, researchers, security officials, and diplomats every year for an exchange of knowledge, methods, and ideas concerning evolving cyber technologies.


From left: Major Gen. (Ret.) Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, Head of TAU's Yuval Ne'eman Workshop For Science, Technology and Security and TAU's Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center;  Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter. Photo: Koby Kantor


Israel at the forefront of cyber innovation

Last year, Israel attracted $5-7 billion of the global cybersecurity market ($60-80 billion), roughly double the figure from the previous year. This increase places Israel firmly on the map as a leader in the digital arena.


"Israel is in a unique place. We have a large number of talented people in this field, but it's not only numbers," Netanyahu told the thousands of delegates from 45 countries gathered at TAU's Smolarz Auditorium. "We need to make the cyber culture not only a vehicle for national defense, but also for business."


The need for constant change — a "revolution" — served as a theme of the conference, which featured workshops, lectures, and discussions on methods and ideas concerning evolving cyber technologies. "TAU is at the academic and entrepreneurial center of the rapidly growing Israeli cyber market," said TAU President Prof. Joseph Klafter. "At any given time, over 100 cyber researchers and business practitioners are working together, leveraging the unique set of advantages that TAU brings to the cyber security arena.


"These advantages include a proven track record of innovation and entrepreneurship; a wide interdisciplinary scope; deep-rooted connections with the high-tech industry and defense agencies; an extensive national and international network of research partner organizations; and one more factor — which is harder to quantify — and that's a campus culture of imaginative boldness, of a willingness to not only think out of the box but to throw the box out," Prof. Klafter said.


U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro spoke of the importance of U.S.-Israel cooperation on cybersecurity issues. "We're also working with other countries to help us combat cyber crime," said Ambassador Shapiro. "And I expect the U.S. and Israel to continue working together to support global economic prosperity."


Other guests in attendance included Maureen Ohlausen, Commissioner of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission; internationally renowned security technologist Bruce Scheier; former Cyber Advisor to Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and former CSO at Microsoft, Howard Schmidt; and dozens of global and domestic leaders from the political, military, technology, economic and academic arenas.


Speakers repeatedly stressed the need for new cyber security solutions due to the ever-changing nature of cyber threats themselves. "We know that international cooperation is key," Schmidt said. "Since 1998, we’ve talked about it — but we need to execute it. We need to start trusting in our friends, in our colleagues, even though we have national interests."


In his closing remarks, PM Netanyahu made it clear that the world's No. 1 destination for cyber solutions was Israel. "I'm here to tell you — if you’re not in Israel, you should be. If you are, do more."


As originally reported by AFTAU



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