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“Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, is the target of approximately half a million attacks per year,” says David Balsar, General Manager Innovation, and Ventures. “So cyber is an important priority in Mekorot’ agenda. The company has been putting a lot of attention to cyber securing critical infrastructure and is considered one of the top cyber secured water utilities.”

Balsar spoke at iHLS’ INNOTECH 2020 Conference on Cyber, Innovation and Homeland Security, during the special panel on future infrastructure – the next generation of managing and securing cities.

Innovation session Chairperson, Ran Natanzon, Head of Innovation and Country Branding, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized that Israeli technologies can help secure infrastructures all over the world: “When we’re talking about innovation and technology in the field of infrastructure, it opens doors to Israeli technologies all over the world, even in countries that have less close relations with Israel..”

Transportation is also an important infrastructure, said Maya Calderon, Innovation & Business Development Manager at Matrix Defense. “Currently, more and more infrastructures and vehicles are connected to the network: V2X – communication between vehicles and infrastructures, vehicle-to-vehicle, etc. All this has been changing the landscape posing a challenge to cybersecurity, for example as malicious elements can manipulate or take over a car. This will be especially evident when the use of autonomous cars becomes more prevalent,” she warns.

Amir Livne, Senior Vice President Strategy, Innovation & Re-Structure Process at Israel Electric Corporation said that the company has been cyber monitoring and securing its network infrastructure 24/7. Referring to the energy sector, he said: “Due to global warming, the 21st century is the century of energy – all the technologies are focusing on renewable resources – smart city, network, smart infrastructure. All this involves the use of electricity, bringing about an important change all over the world.” 

Is there any collaboration between Mekorot and the Electric Corp.? asked the conference moderator, Ya’akov Eilon. According to Balsar,  “Mekorot is the largest energy consumer in Israel, with an annual expenditure of NIS 1 billion on electricity. So making energy usage more efficient is certainly a dramatic move.” 

Balsar added that the company has been applying AI, ML, data mining etc. within the framework of the digital transformation, with the deployment of smart sensors, and the need to analyze huge amounts of data.