Keywords: Israel’s cybersecurity national strength

Israel is located in West Asia, with a land area of ​​about 25,000 square kilometers and a population of less than 10 million. However, such a “small country” has become the world’s second largest exporter of cybersecurity products and services after the United States. Check Point, Palo Alto Networks and many other cybersecurity giants. As of 2018, there are 450 cybersecurity companies in Israel. In the 2018 Global Cybersecurity Top 500 Companies List by authoritative organizations, no less than 42 Israeli companies were shortlisted, second only to the United States (354 companies). The third-ranked UK has half as many companies on the list as Israel. In fact, the actual gap between Israel and the US in first place is smaller than the published figures, because about 40 “US” companies are registered in the US for tax and other business reasons, but are actually located in Israel. In 2020, Israel received 37% of the total VC investment in global cybersecurity companies.

Israeli cybersecurity firm creates biggest IPO

In June 2021, Israeli cybersecurity company SentinelOne went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: S), raising more than $1.2 billion at a company valuation of nearly $9 billion. SentinelOne’s stock price rose 21% on its first day, and it was valued at $10.77 billion at the end of the month, creating the highest value of a cybersecurity company’s IPO.

SentinelOne is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The picture comes from the Internet

Founded in 2013, SentinelOne is an enterprise engaged in the development of network security products. It was founded in Israel and is headquartered in Mountain View, California, USA. SentinelOne was founded by Tomer Weingarten and Almog Cohen, both of whom were born in Unit 8200 of the Israeli intelligence force. SentinelOne’s protection method is not only a firewall or anti-virus software in the conventional sense, it does not need to check files or websites, but uses a behavior prediction engine based on AI and deep learning to protect terminals, containers, cloud platforms and IoT ( IoT) devices to prevent, detect, respond to and hunt for attacks. With SentinelOne, users can gain machine-speed visibility into relevant events happening in the network and defend against attacks at every stage of the attack cycle.

Tomer Weingarten, CEO of SentinelOne, said: “Modern society is digitally driven, and wherever data stops, there are weaknesses. Products powered by humans cannot meet the threat of exponential growth. Our AI-driven Technology is an automated solution to today’s cyberattacks.”

Why is Israel so good at cybersecurity?

Benefiting from the government’s policy support, the military’s actual combat test, and the in-depth cooperation between investors, enterprises and academic institutions, Israel has become a superpower in cyber security.

(1) Government support

Israel attaches great importance to the development of the cybersecurity industry. In addition to addressing cybersecurity threats, Israel regards it as an engine of economic growth and an important contributor to international competition and cooperation, and believes that this industry will help improve Israel’s national image in the world. Israel began to elevate the construction of cyber security to the national level very early. In 2010, the Prime Minister of Israel announced the National Cyber ​​Plan, which assessed national cyber security issues and put forward the following six suggestions for strengthening the construction of cyber information security: 1. Strengthen education, from basic education to advanced interdisciplinary training; 2. Develop cyber security 3. Independently develop a nationwide network “protective shield”; 4. Develop the country’s ability to respond to daily and emergency situations in cyberspace and cyber operations; 5. Upgrade through the comprehensive use of technical and non-technical legislative measures Defense system; 6. Deploy domestically produced advanced network technologies and encourage local procurement; 7. Establish a national agency specializing in network security policy affairs.

According to the above recommendations, the Israeli government passed the government resolution “Improving National Cyberspace Capability” in August 2011, and established the National Cyber ​​Directorate (INCD: Israel National Cyber ​​Directorate) in the Prime Minister’s Office to be responsible for national cyber security coordination, policy formulation, promotion The implementation aims to strengthen the ability to manage current and future cyberspace security challenges, and set out a vision to put Israel among the top five powers in this field within a few years. In 2015, INCD decided to further weaken the government’s control over private enterprise databases and decision-making, and release the vitality of private companies.

Israel has created a unique online ecosystem that includes government, academia, and industry. In 2014, INCD established a cyber security innovation center – CyberSpark (CyberSpark) in the southern Israeli city of Beer Sheva, aiming to promote the development of Israel’s cyber security ecosystem. employee salary tax rebate. Israel’s National Cyber ​​Agency, Ben-Gurion University, National Computer Emergency Response Center (CERT-IL), cybersecurity start-ups, R&D centers of many multinational companies, academic research institutions, and the Ministry of Defense and other institutions have settled in. Every company in CyberSpark has at least one collaborative R&D project with a university. During the course of study, college students can do internships nearby, and after graduation, they can also enter into network security companies or serve in the military, and the laboratory research results will be returned to the country or established network security start-up companies.

(2) Practical inspection

The vast majority of Israeli cybersecurity businesses have one thing in common: they were created by ex-members of Israel’s military signals intelligence unit, Unit 8200, the Israel Defense Forces’ unit responsible for signals intelligence and code-breaking.

The 8200th Unit is similar to the NSA (National Security Agency) in the United States or the Government Communications Headquarters in the United Kingdom. It is the largest independent military unit in the Israel Defense Forces. It has long been responsible for deciphering governments, international agencies, foreign countries from the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. Recorded emails and phone calls of companies, political groups and individuals are considered by intelligence experts to be the most formidable cyber espionage force in the world. Unit 8200 was assigned offensive cyber missions in 2009. In 2011 the force created a special cyber unit to develop and deploy offensive cyber weapons. Around 2012, with increased funding and personnel devoted to the military cyber program, the 8200th Unit established the Office of Capabilities and Operations. Unit 8200 has now grown into an incubator and accelerator for Israeli startups, cybersecurity and other fields. New network technologies are battle tested and tested to ensure their effectiveness and scalability before being released to the global market. Under normal circumstances, soldiers who have served in Unit 8200 for about two years will have companies willing to offer high salaries or attractive benefits such as tuition, apartments, cars and subsidies to book in advance to ensure that these people can enter after the end of their service. company and become the backbone.

The picture of Israel’s 8200th unit comes from the Internet

(3) Talent training

Cybersecurity education in Israel begins in secondary schools and is the only country in the world to include cybersecurity courses as electives in high school exams. Since high school, Israeli schools have opened cybersecurity subjects, popularized cybersecurity education, and cultivated students’ ability to resist cyberspace threats. The Israel Defense Forces, which focus on attracting high-quality personnel, are active participants in the training program. According to the training framework, students who have achieved high scores in the special subjects offered will form a team to participate in a network security advanced course specially developed for them by military experts and experts from the Ministry of Education. It is reported that all the teachers who teach these courses have received training from the Israeli intelligence services.

In Israel, cybersecurity is a separate discipline, not a branch under the Computer Science major. Currently, there are 6 universities in Israel with research centers dedicated to cybersecurity research. Israel is also the first country to award a PhD in cybersecurity. In addition to the government and the military, some non-profit organizations or companies in Israel also participate in cybersecurity-related knowledge and skills training. Well-known cyber education programs include Magshimim, which provides extracurricular training to gifted young computer programmers and hackers from impoverished areas, and most trainees who complete this training are recruited into the Israel Defense Forces’ cyber and intelligence units. . The Israeli government established the National Cyber ​​Education Center in 2017 with the goal of broadening the talent pool for military cyber organizations.

(IV) Capital empowerment

The ecology of industrial agglomeration has brought active venture capital. JVP, a well-known venture capital firm, Jerusalem Venture Capital Fund, has built a cybersecurity business incubator in CyberSpark to help transform ideas and scientific research results born in university laboratories into products and services. . Many well-known American companies also come to CyberSpark in Israel to look for business opportunities and make investments. In CyberSpark, the four elements of university, industry, venture capital and government closely form a whole, forming a virtuous circle.

In 2020, Israeli cybersecurity companies attracted $1 billion in venture capital funding, accounting for about 13% of the total investment in global cybersecurity startups, according to business analysis agency Crunchbase. This amount is second only to the $5.9 billion absorbed by U.S. cybersecurity startups in 2020.

In recent years, the Israeli government has also continued to increase investment in its own cybersecurity industry. In 2018, the Israel Innovation Authority, together with the Ministry of Economy and Industry and INCD, launched a development plan within the next three years to invest NIS 90 million (approximately US$24.43 million) to strengthen the development of the national cybersecurity industry. The main investment targets of this plan are Israeli companies with globally influential technologies and potential for breakthrough research and development in this field.

Israeli cyber security investment (in 2014, cyber security investment accounted for 7% of the world, and reached 19% in 2018) Unit: USD 10,000

(5) International growth

The Israeli domestic market is limited and cannot support a cybersecurity startup for too long, so Israeli cybersecurity startups are mostly born as Born Global (a type of company that pursues the vision of globalization from the very beginning, and does not have any long-term domestic or international The goal is to rapidly achieve globalization in the era of globalization), and successful cases include Check Point, which developed the world’s first firewall, and is now one of the world’s most well-known network security companies. The U.S. is the primary target of almost all Israeli cybersecurity startups, because the U.S. accounts for about 60% of the global cybersecurity market, and most cybersecurity giants are U.S. companies; and secondly, because of global investment in cybersecurity startups Most are from American venture capital firms, and English is a second language for most Israelis, and the United States also has a strong Jewish or Israeli community network. In addition, the strong growth rate of the cybersecurity market in Japan and the United Kingdom is also a major target.

Large multinational corporations also support Israel’s cybersecurity ecosystem. Many multinational corporations, such as Motorola, IBM, Intel, VMware, and Cisco, have set up cybersecurity innovation R&D centers in Israel, and they value the talents cultivated in Israel. These multinational companies bring new concepts and new technologies. On the one hand, they can introduce professional knowledge into Israel and provide innovative and technological ideas. At the same time, they also provide Israeli professionals with a better stage to play and experience opportunities. International talent.

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