Mossad Chief: ‘Cyber Intelligence is Most Important Counter-terror Tool’

Cyberintelligence has taken the central place in today’s fight against global terror. This was the message delivered by Israel’s spy chief Yossi Cohen at a security conference in Tel Aviv earlier this week.

The organization Cohen heads, Israel’s national intelligence agency known as the Mossad, was awarded the Cyber Defender Award on Tuesday by Israel’s government. The award comes at a time when the value of Mossad to its international allies is becoming more known. Cohen accepted the award on behalf of the organization at the opening plenary of the 9th annual Cyber Week conference, hosted at Tel Aviv University.

Cohen’s main point was that the modern world is defined by the myriad of digital connection through the Internet of Things (IoT). The ability to access these challenges and intercept communications, otherwise known as cyberintelligence, is therefore the most important objective for anyone in the intelligence business. In turn, this also translates into increased vulnerability by creating more targets for terror groups. “We are surrounded on all sides by the cyber world. As a result, we are beginning to be increasingly vulnerable and more exposed to targeted cyber attacks,” said Cohen. “The links between cyber and physical dimensions create vulnerabilities of an unprecedented scale. This risk is becoming more and more substantial as vulnerabilities are discovered by malicious entities.”

Cohen remarked that the Mossad responds to cybersecurity threats by cultivating cyber access, and developing and sustaining relationships with allies. Cohen urged other nations to do the same. “We need cooperation between governments and companies,” he said.

Cyber Week has been underway at Tel Aviv University since the beginning of the week and is set to conclude on Thursday. The five-day conference engendered 50 events with over 9,000 participants from 80 countries. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to give his annual address on cybersecurity at the event on Wednesday.

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Samuel Siskind

Samuel Siskind studied intelligence research at the American Military University in West Virginia. He served as a squad commander in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Corp of Combat Engineers, in the Corps' ground battalions and later in its Intelligence Wing at regional and divisional stations. For the past five years, Samuel has worked as a consultant and researcher on physical and information security issues for private and governmental institutions, in the US, Africa, India, and Israel. He currently lives in Jerusalem.

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