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A Land Flowing with Milk and Cyber – Israel’s Security Startups Takeoff

Three Israeli cyber-security firms are taking unique approaches to protecting systems
Illustrative photo of hackers in Tel Aviv taking part in a hackathon to develop cyber-security apps (Courtesy)
Illustrative photo of hackers in Tel Aviv taking part in a hackathon to develop cyber-security apps (Courtesy)

Have you been following the case of the FBI vs Apple? This has been one of the most entertaining stories in the tech industry over the past several weeks, lacking none of the excitement, tension, and legal drama that you might expect out of a great episode of The Good Wife.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the FBI asked Apple to help it hack into the iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. Unlike in previous cases, this time Apple refused and argued that the FBI was asking it to build a backdoor into the iPhone.

Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0, 111692634@N04, Flickr
Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0, 111692634@N04, Flickr

The case appeared to be heading to a Supreme Court level showdown, when the FBI abruptly announced that it was dropping the case since it was able to access the shooters phone.

What changed? Well if news reports are to be believed, the vaunted American FBI had to get a little help from an Israeli startup called Cellebrite, which builds “forensic tools.” When I first read this I wasn’t surprised at all to hear that an Israeli company was helping to access the phone.

Beyond the overall high level of tech innovation here, Israel is also a powerhouse when it comes to cyber technology. Flush with graduates of the army’s 8200 unit (and other security services), the cyber sector is one of the most promising in the country. In order to spur further growth in the sector, the government is working to establish a cyber park in the city of Beersheba.

I’ve had the opportunity to interact with a handful of cyber, security, and anti-fraud companies here, and I wanted to share some of the more interesting ones with you:

AU10TIX – Authenticate IDs in Seconds

There are multiple industries that need to be able to authenticate potential customers. The rapidly emerging Fintech sector is possibly the most exciting. For the businesses in this space, it’s critical for them to be able to ensure that their customers are genuine in order to keep their platforms secure and free from fraud.

AU10TIX is taking border-control level tech and automating it to provide these services with a fast and affordable way to authenticate new users. The technology sits in the cloud and can quickly analyze images of driver’s licenses, passports, and other identifying documents to help companies make sure they are genuine.

Beyond industries such as Fintech and ecommerce, the system has the potential to help make our lives safer as people become increasingly mobile and borders become more open.

LogDog – Protect Your Online World

Everyone today has multiple online accounts that hold tons of personal, private data. Whether it’s Gmail, Facebook, or Dropbox – online accounts have become an inseparable part of our lives. Currently, users have to rely on the security features provided by these companies to make sure their data is kept safe. While these companies are doing their best, and best practices such as complex passwords and two-factor authentication can help, no online account is impenetrable.

That’s where LogDog is stepping in to help you keep your online accounts safe. The company likes to bill itself as a guard dog for your online life. It looks at multiple factors across your online accounts and is able to detect if your account has been hacked or compromised.

It’s able to do this better than the giants like Google and Facebook because it’s natively cross platform. While Gmail will only look at security factors from your email account, Logdog can compare data from across accounts. For example, if LogDog sees that you are logged into your Gmail account in Israel, and simultaneously logged into Facebook in the U.S., it’s able to determine that this is an unusual behavior and alert you.

LogDog is a free service available on Android and will add premium features as it develops.

Octopus – A security command center in the cloud

So everyone has seen complex and sophisticated security control rooms on TV and the news. Whether these rooms are helping to protect a factory, or school, or a mall, they have to serve as the HQ for any facility’s security services.

Octopus is taking the idea of a security control room and bringing it to the cloud. The platform allows security teams to access the relevant data they need from cameras and other sensors from any mobile device, like a phone or tablet.

On top of this, Octopus has created a mobile platform that takes all the convenience we have come to expect from our smartphones, and applies it to a security context. Imagine messages, photo sharing, live video streaming, and other popular mobile apps, but with an added level of security and with direct integration with security infrastructure.

These companies are just a taste of the amazing work being done in the security space in Israel. Keep your eyes on this sector as it stands to be another breakout tech space for the Startup Nation.

About the Author
Jonah Balfour is an avid fan of technology, Apple, and Israel. He has worked with some of the hottest Israeli startups and is an evangelist for the Israeli tech industry as a whole.
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