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Israel National Cyber Directorate formulating new, inclusive cyber bill

The Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) met with tech journalists on Wednesday to mark one year since Gaby Portnoy took office as director and discuss the work done during this timeframe.

According to Portnoy, the INCD’s moves are done through cooperation with all involved parties. About 97% of the companies approached by the INCD have agreed to cooperate with its requests without legislation.

The INCD has also been running various forums to deepen cyber-related cooperation throughout the Israeli economy and has also been enjoying a boom in cooperation agreements – on various levels – with 90 countries worldwide. This includes INCD support of countries severely affected by cyberattacks, such as Albania and Costa Rica; forming relations with global corporate giants; the International Counter Ransomware Initiative, led by the US; and more.

Regarding legislation and regulation, the INCD representatives at the meeting explained that the previous bill (which was not made public) is off the table. But the organization does believe that legislation is necessary. “Without legislation that will allow for monitoring, supervision, enforcement, and punishment, it will be next to impossible to promote a national cyber defense,” they explained. And they are right.

Portnoy looked into cyber legislation in democratic countries such as the UK, Australia, and Germany. Most of their legislation is based on the American NIST 2.0 cybersecurity framework, with necessary local adaptations. This is what INCD hopes to do in Israel as well.

The INCD said it does not intend to replace commercial information security companies with services subsidized by the government. The national “cyber dome” is expected to be a portal for businesses and civilians to help them comprehend risks. The goal: raising awareness for cyber defense.

One of the goals Portnoy has set for the INCD for the coming year is to publish a cyber strategy that will be relevant until 2025. “In cyber, two years is a long time,” Portnoy explained.

“Look that happened with ChatGPT. We’ve been talking about AI for over a decade. Suddenly, an app came out and took over the entire market. The entire cyber sphere reality has changed with the introduction of such tools. Did anyone imagine this even one year ago?”

One of Portnoy’s changes since taking office has been emphasizing reliable online identification. This includes using biometrics for identity verification where legally possible. In addition, Portnoy believes in cloud infrastructure (over on-prem) for cyber defense. “The government needs to move to Nimbus (Israeli government and military cloud computing project” as fast as it can,” he says.

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