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EXCLUSIVE: Israel, US sign additional cybersecurity agreements at Cybertech Global TLV

DHS Undersecretary for Policy, Robert Silvers, who spoke at Cybertech Global TLV

, DHS Undersecretary for Policy. Photo: Gilad Kavalerchik
Robert Silvers, DHS Undersecretary for Policy. Photo: Gilad Kavalerchik

‘We must anticipate security threats, not wait for them to arrive, and we must build security by design,” said Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary for Police, Robert Silvers, at the Cybertech Global TLV conference this morning (Wednesday).

Delivering a special plenary talk titled “The US and Israel: Breaking new ground together,” Silvers commended Israel’s cybersecurity capabilities, saying that it is no wonder that a country which “founded itself on an architecture of security” is now a global cybersecurity leader.

“The cyberthreat landscape threat is evolving quickly. The threats are transnational, disrupting global tech ecosystem,” said Silvers. Turning to a potential threat to the US from Russia at the moment, he said that there is currently no known specific threat, but “we are watching the situation closely. We have seen unprovoked attacks on Ukraine, we are vigilant, we know Russia’ track record in using cyberattacks to achieve its security objectives.”

Silvers explained about the US’s “Shields Up” initiative, created against the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis, which details ways and methods for companies and organizations to prepare against potential attacks and maximize resilience. “We are cataloging and sharing information for all organizations so that they can advance their security strategies.”

Silvers also referred to the cyber threat posed by Iran, saying that it must be taken seriously. “Iran has reportedly launched attacks against water infrastructure and other organizations in Israel, and in the US it targeted healthcare and transportation sectors, and more. They have discovered vulnerabilities that can be exploited for ransomware and extortion.

“Our response must match the boldness of these sophisticated adversaries. Collaboration is a prerequisite in building a robust cyber defense.”

Addressing the software development community, Silvers said that “one powerful step you can take is to incorporate security-by-design into their products. Companies should constantly consider security features. One company’s decision can support the security of millions. There’s corporate responsibility.

“The government must share the intelligence and capabilities we have to protect the public, we are working with critical infrastructure to protect their networks.

“It is no longer enough to declare partnership between public and private sector, or share information. We are moving hard in the direction of operational collaborations. Companies and governments must work shoulder-to-shoulder every day.

Silvers also shared a couple new DHS cybersecurity intiatives. One is the JCDC – Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative, an initiative which brings together various US departments with leading software, cybersecurity and cloud security providers in the US.

“We collaborate every day, we are in the trenches together defensing this nation,” said Silvers.

The second initiative is the Cyber Safety Review Board, inaugurated last month and chaired by Silvers. “Its members are luminaries in cybersecurity,” he said, noting that “this is a true private-public partnership. Half the members are from the government, half are from companies.

“The Board is currently reviewing the Log4j attack, one of the most dangerous vulnerabilities ever discovered. The Board will conclude its review in May, and call out measures so that organizations all over the world can take to improve cybersecurity.

At the end of his talk, Silvers one again commended the US-Israel cooperation on the cybersecurity front, calling it “deep and sophisticated.” Silvers is scheduled to meet Gabi Portnoy, the new General Director of the Israel National Cyber Directorate, later today.

Silvers revealed that new bilateral agreements between Israel and the US will be signed. “Agreements to enhance cyber resilience, to focus on the transportation center, R&D, aviation, rail, maritime, gas and oil pipeline security – this is what it takes to get ahead of this threat. We have a lot to do. Israel is a cherished technology partner.”

Two bilateral agreements will be signed later today, on the sidelines of the Cybertech Global event.

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