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How Israel Became a Cyber-Security Superpower

Cybersecurity incidents dominated business headlines for much of 2018, as a diverse range of legacy and digital brands including Marriott, British Airways, Facebook, Google, and MyHeritage grappled with the fallout of high-profile data breaches. Such incidents cost global businesses an average of $3.9 million, according to IBM’s flagship Cost of a Data Breach study.

As our world grows ever more digitized and connected – including our cars, critical infrastructure, enterprise network, government services, banking, and much more – the menace of cybercrime will continue to plague businesses across a wide spectrum of industries. To confront this threat, organizations know they must work assiduously to always stay a step ahead of bad actors.

Thanks to its impressive head start in the cybersecurity industry, Israel has become a global powerhouse in developing innovative solutions to secure our digital world, and the Startup Nation stands poised to lead the globe in key growth areas, including automotive, critical infrastructure, and enterprise security.

While Israel accounts for only 0.1 percent of the global population, it’s responsible for 5 percent of the global cybersecurity market share, ranking behind only the United States, and accounts for 15 percent of global cybersecurity investments since 2014, according to Startup Nation Central. In 2017, Israeli cybersecurity companies raised $815 million across 81 funding rounds.

Home to more than 300 active cybersecurity companies – more than 150 of which have been launched since 2012 – Israel owes its success in the industry to a dynamic mix of military-trained cybersecurity specialists, top-tier academic institutions, an entrepreneurial culture, and cyber-focused R&D centers operated by top multinational companies including IBM, Oracle, Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, Citibank, McAfee, and Amazon.

Here’s a look at some of the most exciting cybersecurity innovators to emerge from this ecosystem:

  • In the enterprise security field, Israel’s success has given rise to Check Point Software Technologies and CyberArk, two of the world’s top 10 cybersecurity companies. Both companies are NASDAQ-traded. Founded in 1993, Check Point has developed a wide array of software and hardware products for IT security. CyberArk, founded in 1999, is also renowned for its robust threat protection solutions, including technology to combat insider threats.
  • Autonomous cars have yet to arrive in full force, but connected cars are already here – and with new cars containing upwards of 100 million lines of code, ensuring that these “computers on wheels” are secure is essential to vehicle performance and passenger safety. Argus Cyber Security is working to safeguard connected cars and commercial vehicles against the threat of hacking with solutions that provide real-time connectivity protection and over-the-air software updates. The company also develops cybersecurity solutions for the aviation industry.
  • Critical infrastructure is a high-value target for cyber criminals; accordingly, securing power plants, water reservoirs, railway systems, and more is a top priority in the cyber industry, with a growing number of Israeli companies specializing in these critical areas. One such company is Radiflow, which develops industrial control systems and supervisor control and data acquisition systems (SCADA) for power utilities, oil & gas, water, and more. Founded by elite IDF intelligence veterans, Cylus is developing pioneering solutions to safeguard the railways, tailored to the rails’ unique technological and infrastructural challenges.

Impressive as Israel’s cybersecurity track record might be, the country isn’t resting on its laurels. In August 2018, the Israel Innovation Authority, the Ministry of Economy and Industry, and the National Cyber Directorate launched a three-year, NIS 90 million program to jumpstart cyber innovation through R&D grants and generous financing for pilot programs. The initiative underscores the Israeli government’s commitment to accelerating game-changing solutions through collaborative partnerships with entrepreneurs, researchers, and top cyber experts.

In a world where cyber threats are rapidly evolving, Israel’s competitive edge lies in its ability to harness its home-grown ingenuity, renowned tech ecosystem, and unyielding determination to overcome even the most vexing challenges.

For additional information, do not hesitate to contact us at bucharest@israeltrade.gov.il and visit our page http://www.itrade.gov.il/