Israel leads the world in cyber/technology innovation.
Cyber warfare is a relatively new kind of war that transcends the typical “declaration” that previous wars have had in the past. The war never officially started, yet its investment began more than a decade ago.
In cyber warfare there are no rules, and no regulations. More than 140 countries have a cyber weapons development program, making the battle much larger and more diverse than the typical in action warfare that we’ve seen before.
We spoke with Dr. Zvi Marom, Chief Executive Officer & Founder of BATM Advanced Communications. From 1978-1981, Dr. Marom was the Head of several projects for CET Consultant for several major international corporations on software development, signal processing and project management.
Between 1981 and 1985, he was the Head of Interactive Software development CET. Then, from 1985 to 1989, Dr. Marom was the Head of Electronics faculty, Israel’s Open University.
Christopher P. Skroupa: We both believe that technology has changed warfare, that it’s the new warfare in economics by nature. Can you describe what this means?
Dr. Zvi Marom: The purpose of war until the recent decades was to create great damage to the enemy’s human and economic resources until he loses the will or the ability to fight. This has been achieved with military gear based on weapons that using them was a clear cut declaration of hostility.
The sides used international law and conventions like the Geneva Convention – which they obeyed in many cases – to declare what is allowed or forbidden.
With cyber warfare there is an ongoing war that is never declared, and is not bound by any law. You steal, as a crime organization or a state operated organization, your opponent’s or enemy’s trade secrets, and create ongoing economic damages and instability by targeted cyber-attacks from time to time.
In the case of democracies, you intervene in political and economic institutions in a way that creates ongoing damage to the essence of the system. Last but not least, you plant all kinds of malware that can be used as a real weapon in case of real, declared conflict.
Skroupa: Israel leads the world in cyber/technology innovation. How do you see this affecting the new warfare?
Marom: Israel is constantly under attack. The secret to our existence is having technological superiority to our enemies. Cyber is not an exception.
Skroupa: Are there “game changers” – new innovations – that you believe will influence the outcome of cyber-attacks on companies and nation states?
Marom: Yes, Artificial Intelligence. A.I. procedures will, and actually are, manipulate networks and devices in unthinkable ways. They engage very large elements at the very same time, and correct the nature of the attack by self-learning according to the method of the defense it faces.
Skroupa: Why is Israel so successful in technology innovation?
Marom: There are several factors that have been mentioned among them the good education system, and the competitive nature of the Israeli society. Yet there are other factors which are not any less important.
The technological nature of the Israeli army that has very real enemies equipped with the best arsenal. You recruit almost all the available young people, choose the best and put them in a challenging competitive environment where innovation is the name of the game.
Another important factor is that the most educated person ranks the highest in Israeli society. This comes from an old Jewish orthodox custom that says, “If you are rich, you will find the most educated person for your daughter, called ‘Iloy,’ and you will do what you can so he is able to continue to study.”
This will bring great respect to the family. The modern version of the “Iloy” is the “high tech ist,” the new desire of the Jewish mother.
Skroupa: What do you see as the future for Israeli technology?
Marom: The technology in Israel is actually accelerating. Hand-in-hand with the thousands of startups you start to see are tech companies that sell in the billions and valued at tens of billions.
A good example is Mobileye, which was recently acquired by Intel for more than 15 billion US dollars. If Israel can upgrade its education system fast enough and overcome the shortage of manpower which is the most inhibiting factor there is no doubt that we will see a lot of innovation in various fields. Israel is maturing from the start up nation to the innovation nation.
Dr. Marom has been the CEO of BATM Advanced Communications since he founded the company in 1992. Dr. Zvi Marom lectures in several universities around the globe and in front of several professional forums. Since 2017 Dr. Marom is the Chairman of Israel’s high tech association (part of Israel industrialists’ association).
Christopher P. Skroupa is the founder and CEO of Skytop Strategies, a global organizer of conferences.