Homeland Security Monitor - May 2017

Homeland Security Monitor
Homeland Security Monitor
May 2017

On May 22, Israel Airports Authority was chosen to review security measures at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports. (AP/ M. Spencer Green)

Israeli Agency to Review Security at Chicago Airports

Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans announced on May 22 the hiring of Israel Airports Authority to conduct an overall examination of security measures—including a review of facilities, technologies and security procedures—at O’Hare and Midway airports. The decision follows the April 9 incident in which a passenger was forcibly dragged off of a United Airlines flight in Chicago. Israel Airports Authority is the “well-recognized international leader by TSA and others,” said Evans. Alderman Gilbert Villegas praised it as the “Michael Jordan” of airport security. The $245,000 preliminary review is anticipated to take five months, followed by a second stage that will cost $500,000. The Israeli agency will also assess Evans’ decision to remove the word “police” from the badges, uniforms and vehicles of the unarmed aviation officers.

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Opinion—Autonomous Vehicles’ Political Capital for Israel

Israeli advances in autonomous vehicle technology could transform the U.S.-Israel relationship, states Eric Danko, Vice President for Government Affairs at Securing America’s Future Energy. Israel has an estimated 500 companies in the auto-tech space that are developing innovative technologies of interest to American investors. For example, in March 2017, American tech giant Intel acquired the Jerusalem-based, autonomous vehicle technology company Mobileye for $15.3 billion. Such significant commercial partnerships in the transportation sector present an opportunity to strengthen the economic and national security interests of both the United States and Israel. “Transportation must be the new growth sector in the U.S.-Israel relationship, and [autonomous vehicles] are the door. With its natural benefits to the security and prosperity of both nations, the table is set to yield both commercial and political value. But a synthesized public-private sector approach is needed to first structure and then capture and leverage the opportunity,” states Danko.

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Cyber Experts in Israel Join Forces to Help Foil Massive Attack

In mid-May, an unprecedented global ransomware cyberattack impacted more than 200,000 victims in over 150 countries. The attack used a piece of malicious software called “WanaCrypt0r 2.0”—or “WannaCry”—that exploits a weakness in Microsoft’s Windows. This technology allowed the hackers to lock users’ computers and hold files ransom for the purpose of extortion. Baruch Carmeli, who coordinates cyber activities among Israel’s defense agencies as the head of Israel’s National Cyber Authority, says there was “no indication” Israeli entities had been compromised in the electronic assault. As the cyberattack spread globally, Israel’s National Cyber Bureau, which coordinates cyber activity across government ministries, convened 250 cybersecurity experts from the public and private spheres to help minimize any potential damage. “We all joined forces and helped to block the attack,” said Sharon Nimirovski, the founder and CEO of Tel Aviv-based cyber firm White Hat.

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Nanosatellite Built by Israeli High-Schoolers Blasts into Space

On April 18, a small satellite built by Israeli high school students was launched into space from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida as part of an international research project. The Duchifat-2 (Hoopoe) is one of 28 nanosatellites from 23 countries participating in the European Union’s QB50 thermosphere research program—and it is the only satellite in the program constructed by high school students. The Israeli satellite will study the plasma density in the lower thermosphere and send signals to the Herzliya Science Center, where students will analyze the data. “Duchifat-2 is not only an educational venture that brings space closer to youth and lays the way for tomorrow’s generation, it is also an international research project. This is Israeli pride for the future generation, and an opportunity to increase public awareness about space,” said Israel’s Science Minister Ofir Akunis.

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Israeli Ex-Fighter Pilot Creates Drone for Oil Rigs

Didi Horn—a former Israeli fighter pilot and currently the founder and CEO of SkyX—has created an innovative drone to more efficiently monitor oil rigs, gas pipelines and other critical infrastructure. Dubbed SkyOne, Horn’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can inspect for pipeline damage as well as carry out security surveillance and mapping. Unlike current UAV technology, the SkyOne drone has the ability to fly to the nearest available charging station, rather than returning to a fixed home base. “We believe our technology can significantly cut costs and improve efficiency—helping the sector as a whole,” said Horn. With an estimated $37 billion annual expenditure on monitoring pipelines in North America alone, and more than 10,000,000 kilometers of oil and gas pipelines worldwide, “the market and growth potential is huge,” says Horn.

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