Israel’s cyber security Strategy

Israel’s cyber security Strategy

Last updated: Sep 13, 2022

Cyber Security:

  • Implementing cyber security within one’s organization is the process of protecting and safeguarding systems, programs and networks from potential digital attacks.
  • It is essential to protect sensitive and private information that if leaked or accessed by someone external, it could greatly and majorly affect the running’s of one’s organization.
  • Cyberattacks will usually occur when an exterior party (or it could be done by someone from within the organization) accesses sensitive information and attempts to change that information or potentially goes on to destroy it.
  • This could lead to a disruption in regular business processes or even extorting money from individuals, leaving private parties as well as organizations in a very difficult and challenging position.
  • It is extremely imperative to implement proactive cybersecurity practices in one’s organization and since we are living in an ever evolving technological world, with more devices then there are people, these measures are becoming extremely challenging.
  • In addition, it is imperative to note that as time goes on, the innovation within these attackers is increasing, utilizing new techniques and new methods to force themselves into private and sensitive information.
  • Technology is improving and developing each and every single day and thus the challenges that comes with this is growing too.
  • It is imperative an organization as well as individuals know about this and go on to learn the methods that can implement in order to protect themselves.

What is cyber space?

  • Cyberspace is a concept that will be repeated time and time again throughout this essay and thus it is important to understand what it exactly means.
  • Cyberspace is an electronic system, allowing computer users from various different geographic locations to communicate with each other and to acquire information for any sort of purpose.
  • It is a sort of “technological universe” connecting people and organizations.

Israel’s cyber security strategy overview:

  • Israel initiated a deeply detailed cybersecurity policy which specifically targets 3 key areas, namely: cyber robustness, cyber resilience and capacity.
  • During this text, I will go into more detail about what each of these terms means and the goals that each of the 3 areas hold. 

During more recent years, action within cyberspace has developed and continues to develop on a daily basis at an extremely rapid rate, thus we are needing more and more skills to keep up with this development in order to protect ourselves and our businesses.

Timelines of various establishments created to maintain cyberspace security:

During this section of the text, I will go on to give a bit of a timeline about the establishments in Israel that were initiated in order to manage these developments, learn the additional skills that came with it as well as maintain their security of cyberspace.

  • During the year of 2002, Israeli government noted the challenges that they faced in terms of the development of cyberspace and thus decided to proceed with the establish the National Information Security Authority.
    • Since the establishment of the National Information Security Authority, Israel has continued to become more and more reliant on technology both in the general sense as well as when it comes to talking about cyberspace activities.
  • There has been an increased amount of cyber threats working against Israeli systems over the years, being targeted by various enemies from all around the world.
  • Thus, during January of 2012, the government of Israel decided to proceed in establishing the National Cyber Bureau whose sole purpose and task would be to maintain and manage various activities within cyberspace. 
    • The National Cyber Bureau would have the task of advising the Prime Minister and his government through various policy recommendations that would need to be implemented on a national scale.
    • Additionally, they were requested to implement a formal cyber security strategy that would lead the cyber policy.
    • The National Cyber Bureau also worked to encoruage national abilities within cyberspace, getting Israel ready and prepared for attacks as well as helping Israel deal with any cyberspace challenges she was experiencing in the moment or the challenges she might come across in the future.
  • Following this establishment, came the establishment of the National Cyber Defense Authority (NCDA) who would work together to create a strategy for the nation in terms of their activities within cyberspace, allowing for the continuous growth of it.
    • This document would act as a national policy framework, defining and highlighting national goals for cyberspace activity, being proactive against potential threats and thus formulating a concrete strategy for cyber activities and operations.
    • Additionally, the NCSA would not only operate in a manner of getting rid of attacks that had already entered various organizations, but would also assist in dealing with any sorts of cyber threats an organization might encounter in the near or far future.

Israel’s cybersecurity strategies and 3-layer pyramid:

Let’s get into the nitty gritty about Israel’s cybersecurity strategies.

  • Firstly, Israel’s government has opened a particular vision for Israel, and that is to be a start-up nation and a leading nation of the world. This has to do when utilizing cyberspace as an engine for economic growth, social welfare and most importantly, national security. Israel has a very particular vision when it comes to designing their cybersecurity strategy, their vision is a means of realizing Israeli cyber vision, but in doing so, keeping the cyberspace safe for all who utilize it, confronting any sort of cyber threat, keeping in mind the country’s national interests as a whole. Israeli’s cybersecurity strategy additionally makes sure that Israel has a continuous role within the international arena – being the leader in technological innovation and as a country who assisted in the global process, the shaping of the cyberspace we have today.
  • This strategy of cybersecurity is the building blocks for Israel to achieve her goals. 

3-layer Pyramid: “aggregate cyber robustness” “systemic cyber resilience” “national cyber defense”

The way Israel’s strategy for cybersecurity is built, it follows a generic concept for national cyber security operations. This conceptual framework incorporates direct state actions in order to deal with cyber threats as well as indirect methods which are directed at supporting and stimulating security practices.

  • The generic concept is separated into three different operational layers in a pyramid.
  • The bottom layer of the pyramid is “aggregate cyber robustness”, moving up to “systemic cyber resilience” and the top layer is “national cyber defense”.
  • Each of these three layers differ greatly in terms of what their goals are, in terms of the  role of the state as well as within the relations between private organizations and the country. Each part will be delved into greatly, highlighting each part of each of the layers. 

Each layer explained + goals:

  • Firstly, the bottom layer of the pyramid `aggregate cyber cyber robustness’  is understood to be the capability of an organization and its processes to carry on with their operations on a daily basis even in the face of cyber threats.
    • This is done by fighting off and intercepting/blocking potential attacks.
    • This level of the pyramid is the basic level of counteracting cyber security threats. Israel, as a state, has identified her goal to increase as a collective their level of cyber robustness in order to avoid any sort of high-level damage (that could be extremely threatening) as well as reduce the progressing and continuously growing risk.
    • During the February of 2015, Israel decided to initiate nation-wide actions in order to increase its national robustness.
    • This was done through the encouragement and advancement in security efforts taken on by organizations, for example: guidance, best practice, regulations and incentives in order to regulate the cyber security market in Israel.
    • In addition, more efforts were put in place for the government’s cyber security practices in order to raise the bar for all organizations within Israel and to “lead by example”. 
  • Secondly, the middle layer “systemic cyber resilience”, is understood to be the systematic ability of organizations to challenge and oppose any sorts of cyber-attacks, to avert them from unrolling further as well as to reduce the overall damage it could cause to the nation as a whole.
    • As we mentioned, and as we understand, the first layer (the bottom one) is determined to reduce attacks a priori, not taking into account the specific type of event, this second layer is very much so event-driven.
    • Systemic cyber resilience can be attained through state processes that promote information sharing, generating and spreading important information, as well as helping organizations during potential cyber attack incidents.
    • At this point, it is imperative to understand what the NCSA is and the role it plays.
      • NCSA stands for The National Cyber Security Authority which is found inside the Prime Minister’s office.
      • This was an Israeli security establishment whose sole responsibility was to protect the cyber space of Israeli civilians during the years of 2016 all the way through to 2018.
    • Systemic cyber resilience efforts were guided by The National Cyber Security Authority (NCSA) with the computer emergency response team (CERT) at the forefront of all operations.
      • CERT is a group of individuals who are experts in the field of handling computer security incidents that might occur.
      • The national CERT of Israel works in close contact with the private sector directly as well as through cyber centers operating within the CERT.
      • The CERT’s goal is to promote global as well as local operations, whilst at the same time encouraging innovation. 
  • Lastly, the top layer of the pyramid highlighting Israel’s national cyber security operations is “national cyber defense”.
    • This is a national campaign to act against cyber threats attempted by resource-rich attackers who act as a serious and detrimental threat to the nation as a whole. These national defense campaigns include efforts of defense, in order to reduce potential attacks and risks as well as confronting the sources of the threats. 

This three level approach offers an all included solution for the state of Israel, considering all the differences in the potential levels of risk, the nature of the risk or threat and the degree of it’s transparency. 

In order to encourage these operations, as we mentioned there was a need for the establishment of a central cyber security authority (NCSA) which came into establishment during the Februage of 2015. Their role was to guide and pilot the operational cyber security efforts.  The NCSA had one sole goal and that was to act on cyber security, which was mainly done within the private sectors. The NCSA entity held great amounts of knowledge about regulating cyberspace as well as managing any potential cyber security incidents or threats.

The way the NCSA functioned within each layer of the pyramid:

It functioned within each of these three layers by acting on different parts. In the bottom layer, the “aggregate robustness”, the NCSA held critical infrastructure for regulation. Additionally it functioned by giving security guidance, which was done mainly through sectoral regulators. The NCSA was a hub of knowledge, there to assist any organization that desired help. Additionally the NCSA assists in aggregating robustness by regulating the market of cyber security. The NCSA functions in four different ways within systemic resilience. Firstly it holds nation-wide information sharing, secondly it gives assistance to any organizations that might be under attack, thirdly it assists in identifying and investigating potential cyber attacks and it gives assistance and support to sectoral SOC’s. In terms of the way NCSA functions within national defense happens through three different ways, firstly the NCSA manages defensive campaigns within the civilian sector, it helps coordinate between different agencies and lastly helps in the assessment of the current national situation. 

Israel as the “start-up nation”

  • Since Israel is considered to be the “start-up nation” with immense amounts of technological inventions and innovation  coming out, she has also been at the forefront in scientific-technological knowledge within the realm of cyber security.
  • In order to properly implement effective cyber security practices, it is essential to have high amounts of innovation in order to deal with a potential attackers approach. Since Israeli culture is known to be extremely innovative, it allows for an ideal environment for cyber innovation.
  • During the August of 2011, Israel made cyber security a priority and additionally insured to strengthen Israel’s cyber abilities as well as innovation processes.

2 main efforts the National Cyber Bureau implemented:

This task was given to the National Cyber Bureau to deal with in order to maintain the cyberspace, in the long run, as well as maintain Israel’s cyber security abilities and capabilities.

  • Two main efforts were initiated in order to do so.
    • Firstly there was research, development, and implementation of national security abilities and technologies, which included securing information sharing platforms that would be efficient, solutions that supported Israel’s efforts to expose, investigate and slow down the potential cyber attacks, robust cyber operations and centralized security services.
    • The second effort that they implanted has to do with enhancing and strengthening the national science and technology base in cyberspace, which was done by encouraging and advancing industrial innovation, supporting all kinds of academic research, boosting and uplifting the nation’s human capital with the field of cyber as well as creating an environment for mutual enrichment.

Including international cooperation in order to better improve cyberspace security:

Cyberspace is obviously a global sphere making security and protection over cyberspace a global challenge, where all countries need to work together in order to protect it. It is not useful or beneficial if only one country is putting effort into protecting cyberspace and thus Israel as a state feels that international cooperation is a vital and important element to consider when it comes to creating a cyberspace that is safe, secure and free to all. Israel is determined in assisting nations all around the world to grow and strengthen their cyber security methods and operations. It’s a group effort and it is not something that should need to be dealt with individually. It is beneficial for all if each and every country shares their methods and ideas in creating a secure cyberspace. Israel as a state believes it is imperative that countries all around the world collaborate, share their knowledge with one another to create new and improved solutions to counteract any potential threats and risks on a global level as well as create a mutual goal for creating a safe, booming and flourishing cyberspace all around the world.

Israeli Cyber Emergency 

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