Israel Electric Opens Cyber-War Room to Defend Against Power-Grid Hacks

Photographer: Dan Balilty/AP Photo

Israel's Electric Corp staff watch a cyber team work at the "CyberGym" school in the coastal city of Hadera on Oct. 20, 2013. Close

Israel's Electric Corp staff watch a cyber team work at the "CyberGym" school in the... Read More

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Photographer: Dan Balilty/AP Photo

Israel's Electric Corp staff watch a cyber team work at the "CyberGym" school in the coastal city of Hadera on Oct. 20, 2013.

Israel's main power company opened a cyber "war room" this week to defend its systems around the clock from hackers. Technicians at Israel Electric will monitor as many as 400 million cyber-attacks and hacking attempts a day.

"There are hundreds of thousands of attempts to infiltrate Israel Electric's networks every day," Israel Electric Chairman Yiftach Ron-Tal said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. "We are talking here about a threat on a national level."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that one goal of his government is to turn Israel into a world leader in cyber-technologies. In 2012, Netanyahu formed the National Cyber Bureau, which said last month that it plans to establish an emergency-response team for cyber-attacks. President Shimon Peres has spent the last month making public appearances to promote Israeli technology, including cyber-security.

In the past three years, the country's cyber-security industry has grown from a few dozen companies to about 220 that have raised more than $400 million, according to the Tel Aviv-based IVC Research Center. Twenty multinational companies now operate online-security development centers in Israel.

"There is no doubt that cyber is and will be the most significant battlefield of the present and the future," Ron-Tal said.

Israel Electric is a visible target for cyber-attacks. The state-owned utility generates, transmits and distributes nearly all of the electricity used in the country. The company operates 17 power stations. Last year, Israel Electric began developing a "cyber gym" to sell its expertise in combating hackers. The threat shows no sign of diminishing.

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