Israel: The Cyber Power

A regional power devoted to ensuring its own survival, Israel has burgeoned into a high tech epicenter built around Internet security, anti-virus software, and other cyber defense technologies. Much of this is an extension of its self-reliance, and the added fact that since the creation of modern Israel, the nation has faced enemies on its borders. But in this Hi-Tec modern age, modern Israel has another set of borders to defend: Its cyber territory.

Whereas cyber security has become a worldwide issue, Israel’s cyber security expertise has evolved naturally from its constant vigilance, both online and off. Ensuring that its people remain able to take on threats and at all levels has become center to Israeli governmental strategy, and transformed what began as a cottage industry into a thriving sector of the nation’s economy. Government support of science and science education have resulted in most major IT vendors placing research facilities in Israel, which has in turn nurtured a strong entrepreneurial spirit and culture.

While there is no direct link between the IDF and the IT sector, there is a flow of people who graduate from certain military units—notably those that deal with Internet-based technologies including cyber warfare—and then become highly desired talent in the private sector.

According to Israel’s National Cyber Bureau, Israel accounted for 10 percent of global security technology, and sales of its security software topped $60 billion in 2014. With these numbers, Israeli security firms have caught the attention of western tech companies. For instance, Microsoft has acquired Israeli Adallom for $320 million only last month. British micro-chip designer Arm Holdings also announced that it will build a new hub in Israel, following its purchase of Israel-based Sansa Security, a provider of Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile trust and security technologies, for a reported $100.3 million.

And of course, as cyber warfare continues to become a conventional tactic, Israel’s leadership in the space can also help it continue to survive. If the next battlefield is indeed the cyber arena, as so many predict, then Israel, as always, will be prepared in that field as well.

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