Israeli State Comptroller to Expand Focus on Cyber

As the tse of digital services and products grows, Matanyahu Englman wants to take a larger view of Israel’s ability to protect its infrastructure in the face of cyber attacks

Matanyahu Englman. Photo: Israel State Comptroller's website

Incoming Israeli State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman intends on continuing his office’s examination of government ministries and other state bodies dealing with critical infrastructure. Englman also wants to create a new department for this very purpose – according to a story published by Israel Hayom. Former state comptroller Yosef Shapira had already started examining Israel’s readiness in the cyber realm, so there is precedent for Englman’s actions.

“The State Comptroller’s Office believes that the changing technological landscape and the growing use of digital databases require Israel to prepare accordingly, and to make sure that its computer systems are well protected from cyber attacks. Therefore, establishing a new department in the Comptroller’s office – one which could warn in advance of deficiencies in cyber-related areas and ways to improve the status of involved bodies – is of great value,” the story said.

The Comptroller’s oversight of cyber activities will likely have a significant effect on the Israel National Cyber Directorate, as well as current state regulators involved in cyber affairs. That is, if Englman also examines the effectiveness of the directorate’s issued recommendations, their cost-effectiveness, and how well these recommendations are actually implemented. The INCD’s activities and recommendations are payed for by Israeli taxpayers, so the comptroller would need to make sure the directorate and cyber-related regulators aren’t simply using scare tactics in order to increase their own budgets.

Another matter is the open question regarding the survival of the Israeli banking system in case of a cyber attack.  The Bank of Israel recently published a wide-ranging report about the banking system, according ti which the Israeli public prefers using digital services over physical visits to the bank. However, having too few a physical bank branches and relying of digital infrastructure does mean a larger vulnerability to cyber attacks. The Bank of Israel does not currently have a universal measurement for examining Israel’s safety in the face of a successful digital assult.

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