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Israel has been subjected to a growing number of cyberattacks – and has itself used cyber-warfare against its adversaries. To make sure it stays ahead, Israel is accelerating its recruitment and development efforts in cybersecurity.
Israel currently has twice as many scientists and engineers per capita, and ten times more soldiers in active duty, relative to its population than the United States, so the country already has many smart people working on defensive and offensive aspects of cybersecurity. The Christian Science Monitor reports that now the country is expanding the pool of potential cyberwarriors by going into high school classrooms to tap the skills of tenth-graders, and calling on venture capital firms to recruit cyber experts.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) will begin to send soldiers to universities for specialized cyber training, and three years ago the IDF launched a special program – the Magshimim program — to identify qualified high school students and enroll them in cybersecurity training as early as tenth grade.
Professor Isaac Ben Israel, a former major general in the air force and one of the creators of Israel’s new National Cyber Bureau, says Israel’s cyber-defenses has improved due to “the pleasure, the benefit, of selecting the right people for the right positions,” thanks in large part to mandatory military service, which pools the country’s talent and makes for efficient recruiting.
According to U.S. cybersecurity experts, Israel’s model can be followed by other countries looking to boost their cyber protections.
Some American cybersecurity experts say Israel is out in front of the United States when it come to developing cyber talent with the ability to write and modify computer code, spot software vulnerabilities, move clandestinely inside networks, and manipulate systems, rather than just develop cybersecurity policy.