Israel's Cyber Security Policy: Local Response to the Global Cybersecurity Risk

Israel's Cyber Security Policy: Local Response to the Global Cybersecurity Risk

Lior Tabansky (The Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center (ICRC), Tel Aviv University, Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5634-3.ch054


Cyberspace opened a Pandora's Box: it enabled a direct strike on national infrastructure while circumventing traditional defence systems. Analysing the national responses to Cybersecurity challenges reveals the power of “Cyber War” metaphor and the resulting militarization of cyberspace. But these are unsuitable against cyber disruption of civilian national infrastructure. Further, the persistent trend towards militarization of cybersecurity has negative outcomes. How then should democratic societies provide Cybersecurity? One way of addressing the challenge is presented in the second part of the chapter. Israeli Cyber Defence stresses three lessons. 1. Despite the global risks, a national response is feasible. 2. Israel did not to task the IDF with cyber defence in civilian realm. 3. Technical prowess is not enough for national Cybersecurity, without political measures to settle conflicts and overcome barriers.
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Introduction: The Rise Of Cybersecurity Policy

Cyberspace consists of all computerized devices regardless of their connectivity; The Internet and the World Wide Web are just parts of cyberspace. Cyberspace creates new opportunities and vulnerabilities. The latter can, and sometimes are exploited by what we call “threats”. Cyber threats can be placed on a continuum between those that exist solely in the information sphere, to those who have purely physical manifestation. On the information edge of the continuum we can find the potential of the communication infrastructure to motivate people to undesired actions. Indeed, propaganda, subversion, radicalization, etc. in cyberspace are commonly discussed issues. But on the physical edge we find new ways to disrupt and destroy the functioning of a modern society. How should modern, developed, democratic societies provide cybersecurity for their citizens? Cybersecurity has become a central challenge for policy makers. They navigate largely uncharted waters to provide security to the societies and the individuals.

Societal problems such as of war and crime are rarely “solved” but only reduced to manageable levels. The same is true for cybersecurity. But improvement to cybersecurity posture has great societal value, comparable to reducing criminal activity or maintaining periods of peace. Similarly to these realms, while some experts are confident that better technology holds the key to better future, the fact remains that most cybersecurity-enhancing means have serious implications for privacy and other civil liberties. Trade-offs between numerous conflicting values are inevitable; the most promising way to settle conflicting interests is through the national democratic political and policy-making processes.

This is the major difference between IT security - which is a rather technical activity, and cybersecurity, which had to address cardinal issues from social, ideological, economic, psychological and other realms.

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