Israeli firms deliver cutting-edge security

IT security, risk, governance, continuity and compliance technologies are fast becoming some of Israel's top exports.

Analysing and...

IT security, risk, governance, continuity and compliance technologies are fast becoming some of Israel's top exports.

Analysing and dealing with risk is inherent in Israeli society, says Eyal Adar, founder of IT security assessment firm White Cyber Knight (WCK), which means Israeli firms are good at security.

WCK is one of 40 IT security-related companies registered with the Israeli business development organisation Managing Investments Worldwide (MiW). Eight were showcased in London by MiW with UK counterpart Launchpad Europe.

Many UK businesses are not aware of the cutting-edge security technology coming out of Israel, says Stuart Kenley, managing director of Cachet Software Solutions.

Most UK businesses do not know that technologies exist to address their pain points, according to Kenley, whose company distributes software from Israel-based firm Ayehu. Founded in 2007, Ayehu is an example of the many Israel-based start-ups with a niche IT specialism.

The rapid project development many young Israelis learn during military service prepares them well for life in a start-up, says Adar. "Young people working in small groups to meet challenges with limited resources is excellent training for a start-up way of thinking."

Adar made his way from the military into security research for the European Commission and then on to founding WCK.

The firm developed its WCK-Lancelot software between 2006 and 2008 to improve the way businesses manage security risk, governance and compliance.

Adar's approach is to map IT components to business services to present technical information in a way that is easily understood by auditors and managers. "The software prioritises remediation according to business criticality," he says.

Encryption is critical

GED-i, which was founded in 2006, specialises in protecting critical information through encryption technology. Businesses are increasingly relying on IT-based storage for their key data assets, but much of that data is still raw and unprotected, says David Saar, GED-i co-founder.

Encryption is a critical last layer of defence and will become as common in business organisations as firewalls, he says.

GED-i has spent three years developing a standards-based enterprise data encryption system that uses millions of keys, one for each data segment. This offers a high level of security and control to data owners, which will be particularly useful in a cloud-based computing era.

GED-i's technology is designed to prevent hackers from assembling data in a readable form, even if they crack the encryption codes.

The latest enhancements to the system can shuffle data segments and randomly rewrite the data to ensure it cannot be recovered, even by a sophisticated forensics specialist.

SaaS authentication

Voice recognition is at the heart of a leading-edge authentication software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering from Haifa-based Sentry Com. The service provides financial and other organisations a way of authenticating users and transactions that cannot be manipulated or circumvented by hackers.

Cybercriminals are using a growing number of Trojans to steal identities, which means that every transaction needs to be verified, says Eli Talmor, chief executive at Sentry Com.

The service verifies users' hardware and voice biometrics, username and password, to provide three-factor authentication.

"Once authorised, users are able to digitally sign transactions independently of the browser sessions used for online banking," says Talmor.

The transaction record provides irrefutable proof for both the bank and end-user of the details of that transaction, making it impossible for hackers to modify.

The service, which is to be launched at the end of the year on Amazon's cloud-based computing platform, avoids the weaknesses of phone and mobile text channels and the inconvenience of token-based authentication, says Talmor.

The SaaS model enables organisations to use the technology without hardware or other costs, he says.

Sentry Com's authentication service has been piloted by Rolls Royce, which is using the system internally, and the municipality of Rome, which plans to roll out the system for use by citizens to access services.

These and other companies at the London showcase event demonstrate that Israeli firms are a growing force.

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