In a speech today kicking off the world’s second largest cyber security conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised his county’s leading role in cyber security while also clarifying a troubling tweet of his own.
“We have met the goal I set of becoming one of the top five cyber security powers,” Netanyahu told the crowd.
Addressing Cybertech Tel Aviv 2017, a conference and exhibition attracting over 10,000 participants from around the world, the Prime Minister also warned of the growing international threats in regards to cyber security and urged the international community to join together to fight this common enemy.
“Today warfare has changed dramatically,” Netanyahu said. “With a click of a button, you can bring down nations to their knees very rapidly if you so desire and if you’re willing to take the risks, because every system can be hacked.”
Banding together to fight cyber terror
“What you see today is going to get a lot worse if we don’t band together,” Netanyahu warned. “By working together we can more effectively defend against the force of terror, this cyber terror. It’s important to have cooperation between some governments, especially like-minded governments. We need to expand this and recognize that there is a core interest of the civilized countries and the democratic countries to protect themselves against cyber attacks. The more we work together, the stronger and safer we will become.”
Netanyahu mentioned that he discussed the issue of cyber security with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who serves unofficially as US president Donald Trump’s cyber security adviser during his recent visit to Israel, and that he plans to also raise the issue with President Trump during their upcoming meeting in the US on February 15th.
Sign up for our free weekly newsletterSubscribe
PM: Tweet not directed at Mexico
Netanyahu also took the opportunity to defend a tweet he wrote on Saturday commending President Trump’s plan to build a border wall with Mexico, stressting that it was misinterpreted. The tweet triggered an angry response from Mexico’s government, who demanded an apology.
“I take this opportunity to explain or clarify what I did and did not say in my tweet the other night,” Netanyahu said. “I thought you’d be interested in that. I did point out the remarkable success of Israel’s security fence. But I did not comment about US-Mexico relations. We’ve had, and will continue to have, good relations with Mexico. And I believe our ties are much stronger than any passing disagreement or misunderstanding. And in fact, I’ve had a long, fruitful and very friendly relationship with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and it will continue.”
Other keynote speakers at the opening session were Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Check Point Software Technologies Founder and CEO Gil Shwed, and CEO of Cisco, Chuck Robbins. Robbins boasted that Cisco has acquired 13 Israeli startups and stops 19.7 billion security threats on a daily basis.
“Punching 200 times above our weight”
In his remarks Netanyahu also added that Israel receives one-fifth of all global investment in cyber security.
“We’re punching about 200 times above our weight,” Netanyahu said proudly. “There’s something here that defies numerical size.”
Photos: CyberTech 2017