Danny Gold, who initiated and led the Iron Dome project during his tenure as head of the Israel Defense Forces' research and development division, is currently promoting a new project for the establishment of a national defense system against cyber-attacks, Calcalist has learned.
Gold, who serves today as chairman of the National Cyber Committee at the National Council for Research and Development, is working on the project in conjunction with the National Cyber Bureau, headed by
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The project is expected to be implemented within the next three years, at a cost of hundreds of millions of shekels, with the Defense Ministry to foot the bill. Gold will present the new project next week at the 4th Annual International Cyber-Security Conference of the Yuval Ne'eman Workshop for Science, Technology and Security at Tel Aviv University.
The cybernetic Iron Dome will be able to repel cyber-attacks on all components of the Israeli cyberspace network – the computer of a regular citizen, an Israeli bank or a security entity. The system will serve to identify potential threats on computer servers abroad and prevent them from reaching Israel's communications network.
The project is still on the drawing board and has yet to be announced publicly. It will be led by the Defense Ministry, the Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure and the National Cyber Bureau in the Prime Minister's Office, in cooperation, too, with large civilian companies in Israel and abroad as well as start-ups that specialize in cyber-security solutions.
"The Iron Dome deals with only a number of aspects of defense," Gold told Calcalist. "It deals with a rocket only after it is fired. The system itself doesn't launch an attack on the target from which the rockets are fired, but pinpoints it for other units in the army. The objective of the cyber defense network is to locate the threat beforehand and to prevent it from materializing, and eventually it will also be able to attack hackers who have tried to breach the network."
The defense system will function on four main levels – the identification of threats, protection against them, dealing with threats within the network, and finally a counterstrike against the hackers. Each level will comprise a mix of civilian and security companies.
Companies that serve banks and insurance firms will be able to provide information about attacks on banks and credit card fraud, for example. When it comes to counterstrikes, defense systems, and primarily the IDF's Cyber Command, will be able to provide a response on the national level.
According to Gold, the project should also encourage large Internet and technology companies such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, Elbit or the Israel Aerospace Industries to cooperate with Israeli cyber-security start-ups, which have in recent years raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the development of components for cyber-security systems.
"There are some 200 start-up companies in the cyber field in Israel, "Gold noted, "but there is no body that integrates them. A large company can decide that it is working with 10 small start-ups, each of which is developing a specific component in a system, and thus be able to provide a larger and more integrated system."
This approach is reminiscent of the early days of the Iron Dome system, when large companies such as Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Elta Systems sought assistance from small start-ups for the development of a number of components.