BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), announced on Wednesday the launch of a joint Israeli-American consortium in the field of cyber protection of energy facilities, for the purpose of promoting an R&D that will address cyber threats to energy sources and facilities. Total investment is estimated to reach $12 million, including funds from the participating institutions.
The announcement was made at the Cybertech 2022 in Tel Aviv, an annual confab where leading cybersecurity experts, government officials, investors, and startups gather to talk about the latest in cybersecurity news and trends.
The frequency and scale of cyber attacks on energy facilities are rising, and many countries are seeking new and efficient methods for protecting critical resources such as water, electricity, and gas, as well as the facilities that produce, dispense and store energy, a stat According to a report of the World Economic Forum, published in 2020, cyberattacks on critical infrastructure facilities, ranks fifth in terms of level and number of threats.
This high threat level prompted the two governments to acknowledge the urgent need to invest resources to minimize the danger and the scope of potential damage. The climate crisis also highlights the need to recruit the most accomplished researchers to develop products and services to deal with the effects of climate change. In order to protect energy facilities, the consortium will promote projects focusing on all manufacturing stages, as well as storage and energy distribution. The consortium provided a detailed work plan based on comprehensive research by American and Israeli researchers.
Members in the consortium include Israeli and American companies as well as government and research institutions. Activities will be led by BGU alongside Arizona State University. Among the US partners: Georgia Institute of Technology, Nexant, Delek US, Duquesne Light Company, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories and the MITRE Corporation. The Israeli partners include the following companies: Otorio, RAD, SIGA OT Solutions, Arava Power, DK Innovation, and Meptagon.
“Choosing BGU to lead the binational Israel-US consortium for cyber-protection of energy infrastructure is another validation of BGU’s leadership both in the cyber and energy arenas. We look forward to a fruitful research collaboration between the industry and the Israeli and US research institutions consortium members, leading to invention, development and marketing of vital solutions, now and in the coming years, for cyber-protection of essential infrastructure,” John Peleg, CEO of
The consortium is part of the US-Israel Energy Center managed by the BIRD Foundation. The Israel-United States Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD) is an organization that provides capital for joint industrial research and development between American and Israeli companies. BIRD was established in 1977 by the governments of the United States and Israel.
Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, executive director of the BIRD foundation, said, “We congratulate BGU, Arizona State University, and all the partners in the Israel-US consortium for winning the US-Israel Energy Center grant, and for the impressive organization leading to a successful launch of activities. We believe that the products of this collaboration between Israeli and American innovation will have a significant impact on the ongoing efforts against cyberthreats on energy infrastructure in both countries.”