Israel, China similar in cyber security

Keren Setton
While differences exist in the challenges in the cyberspace between Israel and China, they share similarities in cyber security and governance.
Keren Setton

While differences exist in the challenges in the cyberspace between Israel and China, they share similarities in cyber security and governance.

Just on Monday, hours after an airstrike in Syria was attributed to the Jewish country, rumors about an imminent strike from Iran on Israel were spread by WhatsApp messages.

The rumors quadrupled when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would give a “dramatic” statement to the nation in the evening.

In fact, Netanyahu unveiled so-called evidence about Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program rather addressing the rumors about an Iranian strike.

“The West can learn from China on how to fight fake news,” said Doron Ella, a research fellow at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies.

China outlined a vision for the country’s cyberspace governance and development during a national conference on the work of cybersecurity in late April.

The conference highlighted the need for improvement of the governance capacity in cyberspace, saying internet media should spread positive information, uphold the correct political direction, and guide public opinion and values toward the right direction.

“China and Israel share the broad definition of cybersecurity,” said Assaf Barak, research director at Bar-Ilan University’s Center for Applied Cryptography and Cyber Security.

“In Israel, there is discussion on governance to protect the public from inappropriate content, such as child pornography and in extreme cases block spreading of false rumors regarding a state of emergency in Israel,” Barak told Xinhua.

As for the need for a global cyberspace governing mechanism, Barak said that a framework for cyberspace governance is much needed as reflected in relevant Chinese policies.

“The core technologies of the Internet should gradually improve to support such policies. Policies may be applied globally as well as locally, as there are different cultural and political views,” he explained. In recent years, Israel has become a leader in exporting cybersecurity technologies. The country boasts hundreds of cybersecurity firms.

One of Israel’s main advantages is the training of its young generation during the mandatory military service, where many of them receive on-hand experience in one of the country’s elite intelligence or technology units.

They then enter the civilian sector where they can translate their knowledge into non-military applications, often becoming leading experts in their field.

Israel Export Institute said that Israel’s exports in cybersecurity in 2015 reached US$3.5 billion, which was 5 percent of the global market. Over US$500 million were invested in 2016 in cybersecurity startups.

The cybersecurity market in Israel has already attracted Chinese companies’ great interest. In 2016, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei purchased Israeli database security firm Hexatier.

The author is a Xinhua writer.

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