At forefront of fighting cyber crime, Israeli companies turn heads in U.S.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
physical and virtual worlds
are growing. Israel, mean-
while, is at the forefront of
the battle not only against
Palestinian terrorism but
against cyber attacks as
Israel is the subject of
heavy onslaughts of e-mail
spam, Web site hacking
and identity theft. Moritz
recalled how he marveled
to an Israeli bank officer
that one U.S. retailer faced
1.3 million "events" across
its 2,300 Web servers in a
recent period. The Israeli
called that "nothing," say-
ing he faced 20 million.
hen Ron Moritz talks,
Israel's high-tech troops lis-
That's because Moritz,
senior vice president and chief security
strategist for Computer Associates, the
company, deploys terms like "warfare" and
"conflict" to map the ongoing battle
against global cyber crime.
"We have an increased informational
warfare capability," Moritz told a gather-
Ron Moritz o Computer
ing of Israeli data-security firms last week.
"That is our competitive edge. In a state
of perpetual conflict and no peace, infor-
mational superiority means dominance."
No one knows the strategy better than Israeli
high-tech entrepreneurs, who have been on the
front lines of the cyber war for years. Many of
The key, Moritz said, is how data-security teams
those troops — companies like Radware,
respond to these foes. While Israeli engineers have
Riverhead Networks and Vsecure Technologies —
revolutionized some technologies, the country's
met in New York to show potential American
businesses are playing catchup because they have
investors the latest in cyber crime weaponry.
been slower to integrate such products into prac-
"Israel is consistently the most innovative and
tical business environments. With Israel's econo-
creative in terms of security" over the past 20
my slowly emerging from a recession, the summit
years, said Steve Hunt, a vice president at
offered some positive signs.
Forrester Research, an Internet analysis firm.
For example, Moritz, who meets with two or
Hunt tracks the Israeli data-security sector.
three companies per week, was in Israel two weeks
Israeli innovation is hardly news to the high-
ago shopping for Israeli firms. Computer
tech world: Industry giants such as Apple,
Associates, which already has purchased the Israeli
Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Sun
firms AbirNet for $30 million, Memco for $550
long have maintained research and development
million and Security-7 Software for $20 million,
beachheads on Israeli shores. Israel's software
is again "on the cusp" of acquiring something in
industry has outpaced all other Israeli industries
Israel, he said.
in exports over the past two decades, according to
Some deals already have happened. Eastman
the Israel Export & International Cooperation
Kodak has signed a distribution deal with the
Israeli firm Aliroo, based in Or Yehuda, for mil-
Last week, more than two dozen data security
lions of dollars, according to Kodak spokesman
specialists in the financial, health-care and gov-
Patrick Faure. The companies teamed up after
ernmental markets assembled in a forum under-
Kodak bought an Israeli medical imaging firm,
written by Computer Associates and IBM, and
Algotec of Ra'anana, which uses Aliroo's secure e-
sponsored by the New York-based America-Israel
Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Israel's
Aliroo, which produces e-mail encryption soft-
economic mission in the United States.
ware and other devices, believes the Kodak part-
Some say they could not be mobilizing at a
nership "opens doors for us" in the burgeoning
more opportune time. In the wake of the terrorist
data-security market, said Meir Zorea, Aliroo's
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, security concerns in the
By teaming up with a trusted U.S. brand, Israeli
firms can gain a foothold in the United States at a
time when "uncertainty around the environment
in Israel certainly is a factor," Faure said.
Other forces also have helped Israeli firms cross
borders. Recent U.S. legislation mandating new
digital safety nets in the medical field have
pushed Israeli firms like Aliroo and Applied
Neural Computing, of Herzliya and New Jersey,
to maneuver for key positions in that industry.
Eli Shahmoon, chief executive officer of
Applied Neural Computing, said the company has
produced a new password technology that allows
users to sign onto secure servers with biometric
software rather than passwords, which can fall
prey to thieves.
Applied Neural Computing's product allows a
user to choose a picture as a "skin" on a computer
desktop, then connect selected icons to spots on
the skin. The software's biometrics, which reads
fingerprints and other biological features, tracks a
user's specific movements and gives only them
"I tell people we need something better than
what we have now," Shahmoon said.
Others welcomed the summit. Dan Dinnar, direc-
tor of sales of Cyber Ark, based in Lod, Israel,
produces "vaulting" technology that secures tar-
geted spots on and between networks. He said the
security space already is crowded with vendors.
Dinnar should know: Four years ago, Cyber
Ark, a relatively small shop with 50 people,
opened offices in Dedham, Mass., and already has
signed more than 100 of the top 1,000 companies
worldwide as clients. "This is a great opportunity
to get your-information out" and create a buzz
generally for the Israeli economy, he said.
Meanwhile, Forrester's Hunt sees some new
ammunition in the larger war on terrorism —
springing not only from Israeli ingenuity but
from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some Israeli
firms are developing biometric technology that
reads fingerprints on identity cards. The technolo-
gy, which Hunt calls breathtaking, sprang from
the need to speed up long lines of Palestinians at
Israeli security checkpoints. ❑