New Books

By: Charles D. Freilich, Matthew S. Cohen, and Gabi Siboni

(Oxford University Press, 2023, ISBN: 9780197677711)

Israel and the Cyber Threat: How the Startup Nation Became a Cyber Power

This is the first comprehensive study of a remarkable story, of a nation with the population of a mid-sized city, that has become one of the world’s top cyber powers. Israel is subject to a nearly constant barrage of cyber attacks, by Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, even global powers. A successful attack on its electricity, communications, or transportation systems, could not only disrupt its economy, but military capabilities, as well, and expose Israel to severe peril. Conversely, cyber has posed a great opportunity for Israel, which has transformed its economy and strengthened its military capabilities and overall national power.

The book describes the civil strategy and institutions that Israel has put in place to address the threats and opportunities that cyber presents, Israel’s singular cyber ecosystem, and the role that cyber poses in its military strategy, including “Stuxnet” and various other cyber attacks attributed to it. It presents the “secrets” of Israel’s cyber prowess, including the IDF’s unique contribution both to its civil and military cyber realms, the unparalleled ability to harness the best and the brightest proffered by compulsory military service, and Israel’s extraordinary national culture – “chutzpa gone viral.” The book concludes with the first-ever proposal for a  comprehensive Israeli national cyber strategy, as well as lessons that cyber professionals can learn from Israel’s experience.