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Cyber threats to worsen with tech advances: Israeli expert

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Technological advances like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Automatic Cards and others will throw up new challenges for cyber security and all countries must unite to foresee and combat them, a leading Israeli cyber security expert said.

“The Internet was not designed for security, hence it is inherently insecure since everything is hackable. It is more difficult to be a cyber security personnel than a hacker. The hacker has to succeed only once, where the the cyber security personnel has to succeed always to remain safe, within many rules and regulations,” Menny Barzilay, the CEO, Cyber Research Centre of Tel Aviv University and CEO of Cytactic, said.

He pointed out how “smart people” from different countries are joining hands to commit cyber crimes and hence there is “a need for super-smart people” from around the world to join as cyber security experts.

“Cyber threats don’t create a sense of urgency, unlike a bomb threat, and we cannot feel it in our senses. It is therefore more difficult to convince people that the ‘cyber’ threat is real,” said Barzilay, addressing a panel discussion on cyber security at Nehru Science Centre (NSC) via videoconference.

The discussion was also attended by Israeli Consul-General in Mumbai, Yaakov Finkelstein, security experts from the Mumbai Police and students.

Recalling an incident of cyber attack on Sony Corporation after the release of its film, “The Interview”, Barzilay said that corporates are not prepared to face cyber crimes and the government must support them during such cyber hits.

“Billions of devices, part of Internet of Things implies they are prone to hacking, a smart device means being vulnerable, it will also affect our privacy. Big companies have lot of data about users and can manipulate them for private gains, something which allegedly happened in the US elections,” he said.

Finkelstein said that “there’s a war going on all around us, a cyber war, which is about our wellbeing, privacy and safety of our bank accounts”.

“Cyberspace is the new warzone, and we can’t afford to lose even once. We are all victims here, but each of us can choose to be a warrior as well with mobiles and tablets as our weapons. We must be ‘Chowkidars’ of the Internet,” he added.

Manoj Prabhakaran, the Vijay & Sita Vashee Chair Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, spoke about how combating cyber crime is impossible without changing the very nature of apps like WhatsApp, and the efforts to fight it must also address tensions between freedom of speech on one hand and user privacy and platform encryption on the other.

Other prominent personalities who spoke included social activist Sonali Patankar (on cyber bullying), Deputy Commissioner of Police, Cyber Cell Sachin Pandkar on government efforts to tackle cyber crimes and cyber threats to children, Ritesh Bhatia on growing opportunities in the field of cyber security and NSC Director Shiprasad Khened.


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