Israel to Open 'Cyber Gym' for Training Against Hackers

Photographer: Eddie Gerald/Redux

An Israeli participant at a cyber security conference at Tel Aviv University. Close

An Israeli participant at a cyber security conference at Tel Aviv University.

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Photographer: Eddie Gerald/Redux

An Israeli participant at a cyber security conference at Tel Aviv University.

Israel Electric gets a daily workout by fending off thousands of cyber attacks. As the provider of almost all of the country's power, it's a popular target for hackers.

Now the state-run utility wants to make money off of the expertise it's gained from dealing with the online assaults by opening a "cyber gym," a virtual training arena where corporate-security trainees can spar with simulated attackers.

Cyber Control, another Israeli company, will help the utility build models of member companies' networks for cyber-gym members. Once the arena is up and running, security staff at companies from around the world will be able to participate in exercises to defend against denial-of-service attacks and other threats in an environment that resembles their employer's actual system.

Power companies in South Africa were among the first to express interest in the gym, Cyber Control CEO Ofir Hason said in an interview. This project is the first of its kind in Israel, Hason said.

Israel Electric's revenue last year was hit after turmoil in Egypt cut gas supplies. The new training center, which is being set up across the street from the Orot Rabin Power Station in Hadera, Israel, is scheduled to open in the next few months.

"We are using our expertise to create another revenue stream," said Iris Ben-Shahal, a spokesman for Israel Electric.

Israeli government networks are among the most highly attacked in the world, according to the Soufan Group, a New York-based security adviser. Adversaries include governments, terrorist groups and other extremists, the Jan. 14 report said.

Israel Electric fends off as many as 20,000 infiltration attempts a day. The goal for the gym is to help other companies bulk up to handle similar threats.

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