What do Ann Arbor, Michigan and Hod HaSharon have in common? Karamba Security and a whole bunch of Jews.
Ann Arbor (be still my heart) is the second home to Karamba Security, an Israeli cybersecurity solutions company for self-driving cars. How come nobody told me about this? The company has signed on to the Automotive Grade Linux Project to develop an automotive industry standard for cybersecurity best practices. The project is being sponsored by The Linux Foundation, which is a non-profit aimed at advancing Linux and other open-source technology resources.
Karamba’s software works by hardening ECUs exactly as they’re designed in the factory, preventing hackers from modifying these settings. And for those of you who (like me) need me to Google that for you: “In automotive electronics, Electronic Control Unit (ECU) is any embedded system that controls one or more of the electrical system or subsystems in a transport vehicle.”
Speaking of which, I should start making a bucket list of all the stuff I need to learn about autonomous vehicles before leaving the great state of Michigan this spring. Item one: take the driverless shuttle to Mcity. Because how could I go to this school and not see this?
TLDR; an Israeli-American company is developing best practices for cybersecurity in autonomous vehicles and of course, an obligatory GO BLUE because A-squared ‘til death.
Ya heard it here (quite possibly) second folks. Blackstone is apparently looking to spend in the ballpark of $400 million for 40% of super-top-secret-spy-team NSO Group . ClearSky, meanwhile, is in as a secondary buyer, looking for a 10% stake in the company. Francisco Partners have another 40% and the remainder’s split between the founders and their employees. NSO Group isn’t your mother’s Herzliya startup- it’s some serious international espionage and overall badassery. Just don’t ask me or any of their employees what they actually do.
Here’s a side by side look at some key metrics for Israel’s largest companies that I created in Tableau. The data was pulled in March 2017 and is based on the Forbes Global 2000. Of these top performers, the cybersecurity firm Check Point Software is the only tech company.
(Psst, found the dataset here at data.world. Good site.)
There are certain things in a friendship that you can never forget, like the first time two lifelong best friends first meet. Abbi and Ilana, Michael and Dwight, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. You know, normal best friends with normal interactions, like when Air Force One landed in Israel and Trump greeted Bibi, “Hello, my friend,” to which Bibi replied “Welcome, my good friend” Because that’s normal. As awkward as Trump was all over Bibi’s country (see the cutesy yearbook note he left at Yad Vashem for reference), apparently he didn’t make it friendship-ruining weird. Where some of us pettier world leaders might’ve kicked him out of our lunch table, it looks like Trump’s still there and paying for Bibi’s chocolate milk.
Ignoring the dystopic betchy high school I’ve forever burned into your minds, this friendship is not all bad. In fact, we found out at Cyber Week that we’re getting a bilateral cybersecurity group out of it. Which is, by most accounts, almost as good as free chocolate milk. The group, led by White House cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce, will work to defend critical infrastructure and track down malicious actors. Trump’s assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism announced at Cyber Week that the group would meet for the first time this week to talk “critical infrastructure, advanced R&D, international cooperation and workforce.” And like, has Modi even been asked to prom yet?
The aim of this group has described as using an Iron Dome approach to cyber, which is precisely the defense strategy we need for the decades to come. It’s tempting to think cyberattacks are all 4Chan trolls and Jennifer Lawrence’s nudes, but it’s a whole lot more than that and lives are on the line when an attack goes as planned. Often many, many more lives than a conventional terrorist attack. In general, it would be much appreciated if Trump and Bibi could quit the circle jerk, but as far as cyber’s concerned, let’s hope this group takes us from talking loosely about establishing a set of norms to actually building an internationally cooperative infrastructure for defending against cyberattack. Because terrorists are like, so not fetch.
One trend I’ve been noticing lately in Israeli tech news is an influx of new partnerships/mentorships/wehavenothingtodotodayletsgotoisraelandmakeitaboutsomethingships from all around the world. Among others, there seems to be new potential in Israel’s relationships with China, India, Australia, and Houston, Texas—which, let’s be honest, is basically it’s own country. These partnerships are so important, not only to the countries that can learn from how Israel’s built its tech industry from the sand up, but also for Israel. The other day, ex-Intel head Mooly Eden warned us about the threat that success can pose to Israel’s competitive edge in the tech field. Though Israel might’ve been the first startup nation, the rest of the world seems to be catching up (and perhaps with some help from the Eretz). These emerging global partnerships will be essential to stop any Israeli self-congratulatory slide into complacency.
And in unrelated news…
Self-proclaimed cybersecurity powerhouse Team8 is teaming up with Intel to form several companies that will compete in cyber. According to Fortune, Israel’s 450 cyber startups receive 20% of the world’s investment in the field. In addition to Team8, Intel is also pairing up with Illusive, which uses deception technologies to fight advanced persistent threats to corporate networks. Sababa!
I’d like to think of myself as a somewhat intelligent person– bold assumption I know. Say the word quantum though, and you’ve officially lost me. I’ve tried, I really have, to wrap my head around these things. No joke I went through a phase in high school when I checked out every book on the Higgs Boson from the library and read obsessively about it online. Sure, that may have had more to do with the fact that I was in love with my physics teacher than any genuine scientific interest, but admittedly, I found this was pretty cool stuff. Now I actually have no idea if this is tied to quantum computing (as my foray into the physical sciences was clearly short-lived), but the recent good news from Hebrew U’s Quantum Information Science Center reminded me of it, so LET ME LIVE!
Yesterday, the QISC (if this acronym’s not a thing, now it is) secured 7.5 million NIS from the Ministry of Defense to develop a brand new quantum communications technology. According to Globes, “The goal of this project is to develop homegrown Israeli expertise and technology for a national quantum communications system that will prevent eavesdropping, protect data privacy and secure national infrastructure.” Basically, they’re gonna science the shit out of anyone who tries to spy on Israel. Rather than using today’s encryption methods for protecting communications data, quantum communications systems rely on quantum bits and the laws of physics, ensuring greater privacy and security for the data being transferred. What exactly is a quantum bit? No clue, but let me Google that for you.
Bottom line: money, for science, for cybersecurity, for Israel. For science.
The best class I took at Tel Aviv University was called Cybersecurity Law and Policy: Global and Israeli Perspectives. My professor was Deborah Housen-Couriel, who is a super smart lawyer, cybersecurity consultant, researcher, etc. and major contributor to NATO’s The Tallinn Manual 2.0 aka the working Bible on all things cyber. Deborah was responsible for (among other things) all of Israel’s part in Tallinn. Anyway, somewhere between doing all this and running her own cyber regulation consulting firm she manages to find the time to teach a class at Tel Aviv University that I was lucky enough to take. She, and apparently anyone else who’s anyone, from Bibi to well… a lot of other people, will be speaking at Tel Aviv University’s Cyber Week later this month. If I were in the country June 25th-29th I would be there, so can someone go for me and take good notes? I promise I’ll let you copy my homework next time.
Seriously! Do you really want to miss out on this clearly evil scheme for complete global tech domination?!
Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity company Hexadite sold to Microsoft for $100 million today, June 8th. To date, Hexadite had raised $10.5M. A leader in the cybersecurity space, the company’s Automated Incident Response Solution set it apart, harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to decrease response time on smaller-scale penetrations. According to the good people of Hexadite, they’re working to “optimize overtaxed security resources for increased productivity, reduced costs and stronger overall security.” TechCrunch’s take on the acquisition? “The idea is to expand Microsoft’s existing security portfolio with an infusion of new technology based around new innovations in areas like AI and machine learning.” You know, so the real security experts will have time for more important things like cruising Dizengoff Center on their segways.