My recent article, “Internet Apocalypse?” lays out the three most vulnerable points of attack that could potentially shut down the entire Internet, and how any such catastrophe would likely not be global but rather localized to a city or region, which is not to say that such a containment would not still be a total failure. What follows is an excerpt from a recent story published by NoCamels.com with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu setting the stage.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” the robotic voice said, “this conference has just been hacked. Ironic, isn’t it? A conference dedicated to cybersecurity being hacked.”
“We are based in a country not far from Israel. That’s all you need to know for now. The bank accounts of everyone sitting in this hall have just been frozen. The intellectual property of your companies is in our hands, so are your private conversations. This information is being sent to your competition and your enemies,” it went on.
It was the fourth day of the 8th annual 2018 Cyber Week conference at Tel Aviv University, a global event gathering leading cybersecurity researchers, entrepreneurs, and insiders, began with a threat.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a main speaker at the five-day event, took to the stage on Wednesday and aired an audio clip announcing a large-scale hack to an audience of some 8,000 attendees from 85 countries.
The threat was not real; Netanyahu was simply trying to drive home a point. “This is not far-fetched,” he said, warning that hackers and state-backed actors “can do everything that you heard here and much more.”
“Hackers can cripple our most sensitive systems. They can even take over, literally take over, some of those vital systems. And it is not something that is theoretical in the future. It’s already happening in the present, as you well know. You wouldn’t be here. You wouldn’t have companies. There wouldn’t be this thriving business if there wasn’t this amazing threat to our banks, our airplanes, even our weapons,” Netanyahu said.
“This is a supreme test for our civilization. It is going to be tested not only by criminal organizations, by terrorists, but by other states,” he said. “This is why we’re holding this cyber conference here. It is to protect the present and ensure the future, no less than that.”
Netanyahu also praised the cybersecurity ecosystem in Israel, saying the country is “punching at 200 times above our weight here.”