UAE law cyberattacks
Israel's annual Cyber Week event shows ways to take on the global scourge of cyber attacks - and the need for constant defence. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Only full-scale government-to-government cooperation can take on the menace of state-sponsored cyber attackers, according to tech experts at the recent Cyber Week in Tel Aviv.

“You cannot fight cyber aggression alone – (whether) at home, government, private sector, and worldwide,” said Gaby Protnoy, Director-General of Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD).

A nation-state attack is a growing threat faced by organizations of all sizes, where the perpetrators’ primary objective is to gain a strategic advantage for their country by stealing secrets, gathering cyber intelligence, and conducting surveillance against another country. “To stop hackers and protect every citizen, we need everyone’s cooperation, we need to collaborate to win against online threats,” said Protnoy.

Cyber Week, an annual event hosted at Tel Aviv University in Israel, has become one of the top cybersecurity events in the world, drawing more than 9,000 attendees from more than 80 countries. “You need to have a budget for advanced tools and invest in people to use these tools efficiently,” said Erez Tidhar, Executive Director of Cyber Emergency Response Team – Israel (CERT-IL). “Every dollar you spend on cybersecurity, you save $80 when sophisticated hackers target you.”

Israel has attracted $8.8 billion into cybersecurity, or 41 per cent of total global investments in the sector in 2021. But more needs doing in terms of having the skills in-country. Israel is eyeing its 150,000-strong diaspora of hi-tech professionals and offering them incentives to return and close the immediate shortage of trained cybersecurity personnel.

Put up the defence against cyber attacks
Cyber Week highlights the need for everyone to take cybersecurity seriously as cybercriminals don’t just target government agencies and private institutions. Senior citizens, ordinary employees, and even children are targets as they are the most vulnerable sector of society.

Another talent pool are tech professionals from areas outside of Tel Aviv like Haifa and Beersheba. The desert town of Beersheba, incidentally, is already host to a new cyber tech hub. “For years the north and south were underserved and it’s just an ineffective policy of Israel ,” said Bennett.

The Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz addressed the Cyber Week event “Our top mission in the defence establishment is to foster this community, to train our personnel and to keep them with us. We are constantly assessing force build up in terms of human resources, training and missions.”