HomeHeadlineIsrael's Economy Takes a $3bn Hit in 2023 Due to Cyberattacks

Israel’s Economy Takes a $3bn Hit in 2023 Due to Cyberattacks

Israel’s Economy Takes a $3bn Hit in 2023 Due to Cyberattacks

Israel lost 12 billion shekels equivalent to $3 billion to cyberattacks in 2023. That’s according to Director General of Israel National Cyber Directorate, Gaby Portnoy. Addressing a delegation of journalists from across the globe ahead of the Cyber Week celebration, Mr. Portnoy revealed that the country lost this much due to the War launched by Palestine on Israel.

According to him, cyberattacks have tripled since October 7, 2023 with the Computer Emergency Response Centre (CERT) receiving about 500 emergency calls per day from an average of 50 calls before the war.

Israel on October 7, 2023 was attacked by Hamas-led Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza strip. This is the fifth war of the Gaza-Israel conflict since 2008 which is part of the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since the attack, 1,576 people have been killed and 120 people taken as hostages.

Gaby Portnoy said, “the war began with a hack into cameras, smart houses and billboards” which guided the opponent as this helped in accumulating information from delicate government intel to the least as a whatsapp group of mothers discussing the daily routine of their children.

However, Mr. Portnoy disclosed that “135 infrastructure of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas have been taken down” which were used to launch 1,992 attacks since the beginning of the war.

In his presentation to the journalists, he highlighted that the digital service, government and communication were the most targeted sectors. A further explanation indicated that the digital service had the highest attacks with a focus on the use of cyberterrorism, social media influence and artificial intelligence (AI) as the main medium used by cyber attackers to infiltrate Israel’s cyber space.

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In tackling cyberattacks during the war, Mr. Portnoy outlined a three-layered approach which are; regulation, operation and education. According to him, “government has intensified policies that protect the cyberspace of state agencies, corporations and startups. Israel has equipped the Computer Emergency Response Centre to immediately attend to emergency calls and tapped into the military reserves when the war begun. Lastly, we have developed a great sense of awareness by educating everyone on sighting any form of attack and report it”.

Meanwhile, Gaby Portnoy stated that the war despite its disadvantages has taught the country three things, “constant change is a reality, cooperation and navigation”.

He believes the Israeli-Palestinian war is the beginning of a digital/information revolution as the current war is not limited to physical attacks or violence.

In another meeting with journalists, Head of the National Computer Emergency Response Centre at the Israel National Cyber Directorate, Dana Toren revealed that her outfit received 13,040 reports of cyberattacks in 2023. This was 43 percent higher than the number of attacks recorded in 2022.

According to her, “cyberattacks before October 7 were targeted at theft of information and after October 7 were cybercrimes targeted at inciting damage to Israel”.

In her over 20 years’ experience of developing a strong defense for Israel with specialisation in protecting the cyberspace of businesses, Dana Toren advised corporations to have a “strong business continuity plan” to help them recover from cyberattacks and to “learn from others” in order not to repeat the same mistakes or encounter the same problems.

The Cyber Week which is happening from 24th to 27th June, 2024 in Israel, is an annual international cybersecurity conference that offers a unique gathering of cybersecurity experts, industry leaders, startups, investors, academics, diplomats and government officials.

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