Cyber Week is a large international cybersecurity event, hosted each year at Tel Aviv University in Israel. Over the past eight years, Cyber Week has become internationally acclaimed as one of the top cybersecurity events in the world.
In this interview with Help Net Security, Major Gen. (Ret.) Prof. Isaac Ben-Israel, Director of the ICRC – Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center, talks about this unique gathering of cybersecurity experts, industry leaders, startups, investors, academics, diplomats, and government officials.
What makes Cyber Week a unique event? How would you introduce the event to someone that hasn’t attended before?
With over 8,000 attendees from over 80 countries, Cyber Week is one of the top international cybersecurity conferences in the world. There are 50 events taking place over 5 days around all things cybersecurity, with topics including AI, fintech, blockchain, IoT, policy, military defense and more.
Cyber Week offers a unique opportunity to meet, connect and learn from cybersecurity experts from around the globe. Located in the ‘startup nation,’ we benefit from the ecosystem of the cyber capital of the world, Tel Aviv, which is at the forefront of technological innovations with applications across many fields and industries.
Cyber Week attracts a diverse audience due to the fact that the conference’s high-level content covers a wide range of topics, from policy and national defense, to cutting-edge developments in cybersecurity. Cyber Week offers an unparalleled forum for discussion and endless possibilities for future collaboration across industry, academia, and government.
How has the fast-paced threat landscape influenced the program of Cyber Week 2019?
We are fortunate to partner with the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD). Like many countries today, Israel faces serious cybersecurity threats, and as those threats evolve, Israel is staying one step ahead by constantly seeking new technological solutions. Cyber Week provides a forum for knowledge sharing to benefit like-minded nations, and its programming reflects the newest ideas and innovations in the field.
What would you single out as the most important topics for this year’s event? What keeps cybersecurity leaders awake at night?
This year, we have decided to specifically highlight the intersection between AI and Cyber, since AI is becoming more and more important with regards to cybersecurity. We will also be hosting an additional conference this fall called AI Week, which will have a similar structure to Cyber Week, but with AI as the main focus.
One major topic that is keeping cybersecurity leaders awake at night is the idea of AI versus AI – the sinister use of artificial intelligence technologies to attack other artificial intelligence platforms. Cybersecurity will remain a vital topic as threats develop concurrently with AI technology, and innovations in security will be necessary to protect AI technologies against threats from other AI technologies.
The advent of the modern computer has been the most important technological development of the last 50 years, and as computing technology evolves, it has come to affect all areas of life as we know it. Cyber Week will continue to cover this essential topic at some of our 50 events during the conference.
What is the long-term strategy for Cyber Week? How do you see the conference evolving in the future?
I believe that Cyber Week will continue to be an important platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration across all borders – across all countries, across all industries, and across both the public and private sectors. Cybersecurity remains critical for its role in protecting citizens, government and business from threats to their security.
The Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center (ICRC) at Tel Aviv University is Cyber Week’s home, and was the catalyst for the cyber revolution in Israel. I was given responsibility by the Prime Minister to develop Israel’s cybersecurity capabilities, and the ICRC developed out of that initiative. Cyber Week started as a small, niche conference, but as the need for cybersecurity solutions has grown both in Israel and the world, so has Cyber Week.
Cyber Week has been successful in keeping up with the never-ending technical evolution, and will therefore remain an imperative conference for years to come.