Former CIA Director: ‘Israel is a cyber superpower’

Former Director of the CIA, General David Petraeus, who is in Tel Aviv for Cybertech 2018, declared that US-Israel collaboration is reaching new heights.

By: Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News

The participation of former CIA Director General (Ret.) David H. Petraeus in a panel discussion was a highlight of this week’s Cybertech 2018 conference in Tel Aviv.

Petraeus called Israel a cyber superpower.

“The presence of many investors in Israel, including my own presence is to receive the latest news first hand. Israel is not just a startup nation. It’s an upscale nation due to impressive foundations that had been laid here by previous generations of industry. Countries which have good cyber capabilities can reach far beyond their size and abilities. Israel is a small country in all aspects, but it is a cyber superpower. The partnership between the United States and Israel has given us the ability to work together against common threats. Our collaboration reaches new heights time and time again,” remarked Petraeus.

Speaking on a panel with Petraeus, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Nadav Zafrir, co-founder and CEO of Team8 and former commander of Unit 8200 told the gathering, “The threat has become much more imminent. One of the reasons is that the world is becoming much more connected, enhancing the hackers’ capacity. To find a solution we must combine the background of an organization like the IDF and the attacker’s mindset. We need to think like the hacker. We must anticipate the next crisis that will emerge when a new technology becomes available to the enemy.”

Petraeus spoke of his concern with extremist non-state actors that have the ability to take down the electrical infrastructure of entire countries. According to Petraeus his concern is not necessarily the theft and misuse of the data, but the alteration of it, and the skill to cause something to “seem real.” He gave as an example “what Russia did to subvert the United States.”

Relating to our region, Petraeus said, “Hezbollah is quite sophisticated with both its manned and unmanned forces,”

According to Petraeus, “The technological developments are outrunning our strategic imagination. It’s a huge challenge and we must be quick enough to keep up with the rapid changes in the nature of the threats.”

Thousands of guests, and hundreds of representatives from companies in some 80 nations descended on the Tel Aviv Exhibition Center this week to take part in Cybertech 2018. Cyber industry and cyber security were on display, attracting dozens of venture capitalists from all over the world.

Israel is a world leader in cyber technology and there were exhibitions from an array of Israeli companies but also government bodies including the Israel Police, the Mossad, the Israel National Cyber Security Directorate, the Israeli Security Agency (Shabak), and the Israel Innovation Authority.

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Organizers say Cybertech is the biggest and most important cyber event in the world outside the USA connecting investors, entrepreneurs and companies from the cyber world. The goal is to bring together players in the cyber community that include industry CEOs, government officials, experts, security people, hackers, startup companies, heads of corporations, ambassadors and other interested parties.