Cyber Security is as Vital as Physical Security

Israeli firms offer governments, banks, companies and organizations the most effective cyber security against criminal and terror attacks


In the age of ICT (Information Communications Technology) dominated by PCs, laptops and smartphones linked to the Internet and corporate networks, cyber security is as crucial as physical security. The best perimeter protection in the world is meaningless if a worm or malware can be sent by computer to destroy a strategic installation. Bank robbers need no longer stage a hold-up and escape in their getaway car when billions can potentially be shifted by computer from the comfort of their own home. Spies need no longer risk their lives in foreign countries when spyware and Trojan horses can track the most secret of information. As one of the world's leading centers of ICT and high-tech innovation, Israeli companies have pioneered software solutions which provide network security, web security, digital content protection, GRC (governance, risk management and compliance) and mobile security as well as e-mail surveillance, data mining, data fusion, situational awareness and pattern and image recognition. The country's strength in these areas extends from a strong research oriented university base with a particular strength in analytics (analyzing massive amounts of data to identify anomalies), through product development for national security and aerospace programs and onto a powerful business sector containing both dozens of well-established enterprises and hundreds of start-ups.
The 300 member companies of the Israel Association of Electronics & Software Industries (IAESI) had sales of $25 billion in 2011 of which 80% was exported.
Traditionally, Israel has been strong in software defense products such as real-time applications, imaging, avionics, communications and command/control applications. Over time this expertise has been increasingly applied to the civilian sector by software specialists honed in the art of finding software solutions to the most complex and urgent needs.
In recent years, Israeli software and high-tech companies have turned their attention to the growing need to provide secure communications and privacy over security networks. Check Point Software Technologies, provides a range of security software and hardware products and services, based on firewalls in areas such as Web security, consumer security, and mobile security. While Check Point has primarily been offering perimeter gateway security solutions, over the past few years the company has moved to providing a fully integrated architecture for perimeter, internal, Web, and endpoint security. To support this expansion, Check Point has made acquisitions in recent years, including Zone Labs, NFR, Protect Data, and more recently Nokia's security appliance line and FaceTime Communications. Traded on Nasdaq Check Point reported record annual revenue of $1.25 billion in 2011.
Aladdin Knowledge Systems provides software digital rights management (DRM), USB-based authentication, and enterprise secure content management solutions. The company's products include the HASP family of software DRM products, which is designed to provide software developers and publishers with software protection, licensing, and distribution solutions; eToken USB-based authentication; and eSafe secure Web gateway.
Other Israeli companies engaged in this domain include Finjan Software which provides Secure Web gateway solutions that protect against crimeware, malware, and data leakage, based on the company's active real-time content inspection technologies and optional anti-virus modules. Radware provides Integrated application delivery solutions that also address network security concerns. The company's security solutions include content security, DoS protection, intrusion detection and prevention, fraud detection, and VoIP security.
Commtouch offers cloud-based messaging and Web security solutions that automatically analyze Internet traffic in real-time to identify new spam, malware, and zombie outbreaks as they are initiated.
In digital content protection NDS, acquired by Cisco for $5 billion from Rupert Murdoch's News Data Corp in 2011, is a provider of open end-to-end digital pay TV solutions for the secure delivery of content to television set-top boxes, PCs, and IP and mobile devices. Israeli firms also offer expertise in the sphere of information surveillance. NICE Systems provides cross-channel and multi-sensor analytics that enable governments, organizations and companies to increase operational efficiency, prevent and deter financial crime and terror attacks, enhance safety and security, improve performance, and ensure compliance. NICE Systems works in three main areas: providing the technological tools for governments to intercept communications; protecting financial transactions; and providing physical infrastructure and tools for public safety and preventing and deterring terror and criminal activity. Traded on Nasdaq, NICE reported revenue of $798 million in 2011.
Verint Systems, which is also traded on NASDAQ, is a leading provider of analytic software solutions for communications interception, digital video security and surveillance, and enterprise business intelligence. A range of products for government and law enforcement agencies enables intelligent collection, storage, processing, monitoring, distribution and management of communications. Verint reported 2011 revenue of $727 million. EMC's RSA security division in Herzliya is based
on the $145 million acquisition of startup Cyota, which developed e-commerce solutions for online credit card and banking fraud. Today EMC's RSA security division focuses on: authentication; access control; data loss prevention; encryption, tokenization, and key management; fraud prevention; enterprise governance, risk and monitoring; network security monitoring; security information and event management; and general consulting, focuses on: authentication; access control; data loss prevention; encryption, tokenization, and key management; fraud prevention; enterprise governance, risk and monitoring; network security monitoring; security information and event management; and general consulting.
OpTier was the first company to bring BTM software to the market in 2002. To date, Israeli OpTier has raised nearly $100 million in funding and has been praised by the analyst community for its unique approach to business service management. PineApp has developed an eMail perimeter security appliance that protects organizations from viruses, spyware, and other threats, and allows enforcement of corporate surfing policies using content filtering tools. Another Israeli company, Safend provides endpoint security solutions that allow organizations to gain visibility, control, and protection over their endpoints – exposing existing and potential threats, and enabling comprehensive data security.
Promising start-ups include Sandboxie, which addresses zero-day virus and spyware vulnerabilities using a virtual sandbox that allows users to run programs in an isolated space, preventing them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in the computer. Skybox develops GRC solutions that provide organizations with continuous view of risk while validating control effectiveness and compliance, while Checkmarx offers secure source code solutions that automatically detect technical and business logic vulnerabilities in the source code across the software development life cycle.
In the past few years vulnerability to cyber attacks has hit the headlines with Israeli websites frequently being targeted and reports of the alleged Stuxnet worm hitting progress in the Iran nuclear program. Israel's real time experience and need to defend against cyber attacks combined with the country's leadership in innovative high-tech systems has enabled local industry to enhance its traditional strengths in cyber security.