Israel and the US are set to collaborate in cybersecurity, a senior White House official said at a conference in Tel Aviv Monday.
“I announce today the commencement of an Israeli US bilateral cyber working group,” Thomas Bossert, assistant to the US President Donald Trump for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism said at the Cyber Week conference in Tel Aviv Monday.
The group will strive to defend critical infrastructure against attackers and to track down perpetrators. It will be led by Rob Joyce, the US White House cybersecurity coordinator, and Israel’s Eviatar Matania, director general of the National Cyber Directorate. It will include US and Israeli representatives from various ministries and defense organizations including foreign affairs and justice, and the secret service.
The team will convene this week, Bossert said. “The meetings this week will focus on a range of cyber issues — critical infrastructure, advanced R&D, international cooperation, and workforce,” Bossert said, adding that these will be the first steps in strengthening bilateral ties in cyber issues.
The agencies will be… “focused on finding and stopping cyber adversaries before they enter networks, before they reach critical infrastructure and identifying ways to hold bad actors accountable,” Bossert said. “We believe the agility Israel has in developing solutions will resolve in innovative cyber defenses that we can test here and take back to America.”
Bossert said that increased cyber defense and deterrence are critical today, in a world in which the cyber threat from nations is growing, and an international consensus needs to be built regarding what is “responsible state behavior.” International norms must be set out and implemented, he said. And those who do not comply with these norms should be punished.
“It is time to consider different approaches,” he said, and the US is seeking to set up bilateral agreements with other partners globally who hold the same values. “There should be consequences for destruction,” he said.
The cyber sphere “is one of the biggest strategic challenges since 9/11,” he said, “because while physical borders are important, cyberspace knows no boundaries.”
“Nations have the ability to steal sensitive information and data and destroy systems and the trend is heading in the wrong direction,” Bossert said. Destructive attacks are being executed by belligerent nations – North Korea attacked Sony and Iran attacked Saudi Arabia in cyber attacks – and “neither of theses countries have near the sophistication and resources of China and Russia.”