Israeli Companies at the Vanguard of Cybersecurity

Panel Discusses How Israeli Companies are Changing the Industry

“Cybersecurity is going to touch everything,” said Lawrence Askowitz ’87YC, co-chair of the Yeshiva University Wall Street Group, as he introduced a panel discussion on “Israeli Companies Changing the Cybersecurity Industry.” The event was organized by the group and YU’s Office of Alumni Affairs on Wednesday, June 5, 2019.

More than 100 guests came to the program, which was hosted by Yosef Levine ’95YUHS, ’99SB at Deloitte, where he serves as managing director of global technology controls, confidentiality and privacy. (“Deloitte has recruited more than 400 students from YU, which puts us at the top of the list when it comes to recruiting from Yeshiva University,” Levine noted.) The University recently launched a master’s degree program in cybersecurity, which is focused on the technology and management competencies for planning, upgrading, monitoring and auditing cybersecurity protocols and procedures.

The panel of cybersecurity industry pioneers included Galina Antova, co-founder and chief business development officer at Claroty; Itay Malinger, co-founder and CEO of Curv; Derek Vadala, global head of cyber risk for Moody’s Investors Service; and Oren Wortman, director of cyber security operations at Sygnia.

(l-r): Lawrence Askowitz ’87YC (Chair, YU Wall Street Group); Galina Antova (Claroty); Itay Malinger (Curv); Yosef Levine ’95YUHS, ’99SB (Deloitte); Oren Wortman (Sygnia); Derek Vadala (Moody’s Investors Service); Nadav Zafrir (Team8)

The discussion was moderated by Nadav Zafrir, co-founder and CEO of Team8, a Tel Aviv-based think tank and company creation platform that specializes in cyber resilience and data science. Started six years ago, it has worked to provide a collaborative environment to focus on building security products.

The speakers represented companies that are part of Team8’s integrated portfolio of cybersecurity companies and partners. Sygnia provides consulting and incident response support for organizations around the world, including law firms, financial institutions, media and entertainment, telecommunications, pharma and life sciences, among others.

Claroty’s mission is to secure and optimize the industrial control networks that run the world, enabling customers to enjoy the benefits of increasingly networked systems without compromising operational resiliency or the security of core assets. Curv is solving the problem of private key management for blockchain and cryptocurrencies—a breakthrough in crypto storage. Moody’s Investors Service provides credit ratings and research covering debt instruments and securities.

“We’ve seen attacks become increasingly sophisticated over the years,” said Wortman.

One example, according to Wortman: Previously, companies that were attacked had to either restore data from backups or pay ransoms to have data returned. Now, coordinated kill switches wipe out current systems and backups simultaneously.

“There’s an asymmetry between those of us on the defensive side and the attackers,” he said.

That challenge has led to the rise in cybersecurity companies working to stay ahead of the curve. Those in Israel, according to Zafrir, have an advantage.

“We can leverage an unfair advantage based on our background,” he explained, pointing to Unit 8200, an Israeli Intelligence Corps unit that collects signal intelligence and engages in code decryption. The unit recruits the very best and brightest in the country while they are still in high school and trains them for this role as part of their military service. Over the past few years, alumni of this elite unit have become known for founding cybersecurity startups that are pioneers in the field.

“It’s important to come up with solutions,” Zafrir explained. “It’s important to move the playing field so that the trackers’ ROI [return on investment] becomes negative.”

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YU Wall Street Group presents: Israeli Companies Changing the Cyber Security Industry 6.5.19