From the Israel Defense Forces to the academic world.
For the first time, an Israeli academic institution will train “hackers” to attack technological systems of enemy states and defend Israel from cyber attacks. The program is the result of collaboration of Ben Gurion [Be’er Sheva] University with the security forces.
In the coming academic year, Ben Gurion University of the Negev will open undergraduate and graduate study tracks in the cyber field, as part of its Department of Information Systems Engineering.
The academic degree is a joint initiative of the academic institution, the Defense Ministry and the National Cyber Headquarters, to meet the country’s increasing need for experts in the field.
The university promises that students who choose this track, will benefit from “very interesting work” later on. Defense officials have long realized that cyber warfare is no less important than classic battlefield warfare, as it has great importance in the intelligence and operational spheres.
Will Contribute to the National Effort
Recently, the media has disseminated reports that the Iranians revealed a computer virus or worm in their computer systems associated with their nuclear enterprise. This happened just a short time after credit-card details of thousands of Israelis were stolen, by hacking into information bases.
Students studying for a master’s degree in this field will learn methods for identifying attacks, protecting against viruses, machine learning [a branch of artificial intelligence], securing operations systems, securing media networks, and more. Professor Yuval Elovici will lead the entire program.
“In this degree program we focus on the ‘cyber security’ field. We felt that there is a demand for this in the defense systems as well as in industry,” explains Professor Bracha Shapira, Director of the Department of Information Systems Engineering in Ben Gurion University. “Our goal is to prepare graduates who can contribute to the national effort in cyber defense, and prepare Israeli researchers to lead world research on this issue.”
Professor Shapira explains that “today we don’t know how to identify precisely who are our enemies; they are very diverse. It can be anyone on the internet. The goal is to know how to protect ourselves, but also to attack systems when needed.”