Governments need to build armies of 'cyber soldiers', says Israeli tech firm

Macron and US Democrats reacted too late to cyber threats: Expert

Governments are not doing enough to protect themselves and their country from hackers and online threats, according to the head of an Israeli-based cybersecurity firm.

"They (governments) don't see the same level of protection that they're supposed to provide for citizens as they do on physical attacks," argued Amnon Bar-Lev, president of Check Point, on Thursday.

"Think about the effect when there is some kind of physical confrontation, they have armies and police and they will go out there and solve the problems, but actually today, governments do not have any cyber soldiers."

There have been several recent, high-profile incidents of hacking. Last year, the Democratic National Congress (DNC) was hacked and thousands of emails were stolen and leaked to the public, causing damage to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. The U.S. Intelligence Community concluded that people with ties to the Russian government were the hackers.

Similarly, shortly before the end of the French presidential election, Emmanuel Macron's campaign team revealed it had been hacked and their emails were stolen and leaked online.

Amnon suggests governments need to be more practical in order to deal with cyber threats. He added that the Macron team and the DNC acted way too late to deal with the hacks.

Participants at a hacking conference.
Getty Images

"It is way, way too late. This now became more of a reaction, a remediation of things that happened. I think the most important principle in cyber is the ability to block things before they happen and not after," he said.

"The fact that somebody had already penetrated their systems and took stuff, afterwards it became so much more difficult, so the idea is to solve things before they happen."

Check Point was founded in 1993 and its shares debuted on the NASDAQ in 1996. It is one of Israel's largest technology companies and now has headquarters in both Tel Aviv and California. The company achieved 7 percent revenue growth to a total of $1.74 billion in 2016. Amnon became the company's president in 2011. He explained that defenses against cyberattacks do not need to be elaborate.

"About 80 to 90 percent of attacks are not that sophisticated. In many cases people do not put the most basic controls that they are supposed to put into the system. They don't patch their systems; they have a flat network; they have a couple of things they need to totally change in their behavior in order to protect them," he told CNBC.

"Just doing the 20 percent of what they need, they will get 80 percent of the security that they deserve."

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