Israel to use atomic clock to secure its national infrastructure

Israel’s national atomic clock to serve new role as part of cybersecurity defense of the country’s infrastructure.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

To enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, Israel’s national clock, located in the National Physics Laboratory, was connected to the “time distribution” system of the national digital system on Sunday.

Based in Jerusalem, the National Physics Laboratory upholds national standards for measuring time, mass and pressure, as well as electrical capacity. This includes four cesium-type atomic clocks measuring time and frequency for security and civilian purposes such as television broadcasts, telephone calls, computers, navigation devices and military systems

The clocks were synchronized and connected with the National Digital Array, a government body which promotes digital advances in the public sector.

Many information systems are based on quoting time from the GPS satellite system. But such systems can have difficulty getting a correct time reading if satellites are jammed, requiring backup, which the National Physics Laboratory can provide.

“The significance of national time in ensuring the safety and protection of state infrastructures has grown considerably over the past decade due to the escalating number of cyber attacks targeting digital information systems and satellite signals, including jamming and spoofing,” said a joint statement issued by the Ministry of Economy and Industry, the National Digital Array and the National Physics Laboratory.

In addition to the clocks, the National Physics Laboratory houses equipment for international comparisons, measurements, and calibrations for industrial and military clients such as Rafael, Elbit, the Aerospace Industry, Air Force, and Electricity Company.

To ensure accuracy, the laboratory compares time measurements taken in Israel with those from other national laboratories around the world — 86,400 times each day.

The new-generation atomic clocks and comparison system were introduced to the laboratory in 2019.