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U.S. and Israel come to cybersecurity agreement

Posted by Albert Gersh - June 21, 2016


The U.S. and Israel have come to an agreement under which the two countries’ cyber defense intelligence will be shared automatically, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, said Monday. Mayorkas made the announcement at a cybersecurity conference in Tel Aviv alongside the head of Tel Aviv University’s cyber department, Maj. Gen. (res.) Isaac Ben-Israel. “One of the lessons we learned is to go it alone is precarious, working together makes us stronger,” said Mayorkas. “The cybersecurity threat is borderless. Information must be shared.” Ben-Israel said that, unlike normal criminals, cyber hackers “can snap their fingers and replicate” their attacks unless countries share information “to protect against replication.” Eviatar Matania, the head of Israel’s National Cyber Bureau, said on the sidelines of the conference, “We believe in sharing information between companies, sectors and countries because the threat is so global. If we share information we can prevent it from propagating.” Matania also said that Israel was looking to come to such arrangements with other countries as well, although he did not name them.

Speaking at an energy conference in Tel Aviv in April, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz emphasized the importance of U.S.-Israeli cooperation in cyber defense, because “a very large fraction of cyber attacks involves the energy sector and that’s a recent experience.” Moniz also said that the U.S. would be able to learn from Israel’s “forward-leaning approach” in cybersecurity. The director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers, reportedly visited Israel in March to discuss cooperation in cyber defense, particularly with regard to Iranian and Hezbollah infiltration attempts. Rogers, who is also the head of the U.S. Army’s Cyber Command, was the guest of the commander of the IDF’s Intelligence Corps Unit 8200, which is responsible for signals intelligence and cyber warfare. The report on Rogers’ secret visit came just days after the Department of Justice revealed that Iran had launched a cyberattack on the controls of a dam 25 miles north of New York City.


A top Iranian commander threatened the ruling family of Bahrain with an armed uprising while visiting Syria this week despite a United Nations travel ban.“The Al Khalifa [rulers of Bahrain] surely know their aggression against Sheikh Isa Qassim is a red line that crossing it would set Bahrain and the whole region on fire, and it would leave no choice for people but to resort to armed resistance,” said Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to Iranian media quoted by Reuters. “Al Khalifa will definitely pay the price for that and their bloodthirsty regime will be toppled,” he added.The threat to the Gulf kingdom came following Bahrain’s decision to strip Sheikh Qassim, the country’s top Shiite cleric, of his citizenship over charges that he was fomenting sectarian divisions.“This shows that we have a new strategy of supporting an intifada in Bahrain,” Hamidreza Taraghi, an analyst with ties to Iran’s leaders, told The New York Times.

Bahrain, home to the United States Fifth Fleet, has a majority Shiite population and a Sunni-led government that is heavily dependent on Saudi Arabia. Bahrain announced in January the breakup of an Iran-backed terror cell, which was allegedly supported by the IRGC and the terrorist group Hezbollah. Days earlier, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and other Saudi allies cut or downgraded their ties with Tehran following the torching of the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Rioters torched the embassy following Riyadh’s execution of a Shiite cleric.

Soleimani reportedly issued his threat against Bahrain as he arrived in Aleppo, Syria to learn of the latest developments in the battle between Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups in the city. He has repeatedly flouted a UN travel ban imposed on him in 2007, including by traveling to Syria and Iraq to direct military operations there, as well as to Russia. (via TheTower.org)

The Israeli company Nucleix has developed a simple, inexpensive urine test to monitor bladder cancer, which has the highest lifetime treatment cost per patient of all types of cancer. Bladder EpiCheck is expected to be available in Europe in the third quarter of 2016, says Nucleix President and Chief Operating Officer Opher Shapira. Right now, the product is undergoing advanced clinical trials in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Israel. “We expect to earn the CE mark this summer, and probably next year we will start clinical trials in the US and then apply for FDA approval,” he tells ISRAEL21c. Shapiro explains that because bladder cancer has a high rate of recurrence, patients must be monitored invasively every few months after initial treatment. Nucleix therefore saw a market need for a noninvasive “liquid biopsy” assay using body fluids rather than body tissues. “A urine test is very simple and painless, and if there is a tumor there are many markers present in the urine,” says Shapira. “We had wonderful results in our own tests on 200 patients, and to get regulatory clearance we have to replicate those results on hundreds of patients.” The urine test has been shown to have 90 percent sensitivity, 83% specificity and 97% negative predictive value. “Negative predictive value is especially good for monitoring; if we say there is no cancer, you can trust it,” says Shapira. The company, based in Rehovot, saw a high level of interest from urologists following its presentation to the American Urology Association in San Diego last May. (via Israel21c)

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