Ariel Parnes joins host George Rettas, president and CEO of Task Force 7 Radio and Task Force 7 Technologies. Ariel is responsible for designing and delivering Mitiga’s cyber security solution set. Mitiga is a stealth cyber security company out of Tel Aviv, Israel.
Unit 8200 Retiree
Ariel spent over 20 years as an 8200 unit member before retiring as a colonel. The unit, which is comparable the United States’ National Security Agency or the UK’s GCHQ, is the largest single unit of Israel’s Defense Forces. During his time with the unit, Ariel held roles in intelligence, information technology, offensive and defensive cyber security operations, and cyber warfare. He was awarded the prestigious Israel Defense Prize for technological breakthroughs in cyber security.
Ariel believes the success success of the military branch is due to a couple of things. For one, each year, new talent enters the military. He credits the unit’s constant energy and innovation to the continuous addition of fresh-minded young soldiers.
Second, the unit is in constant demand. The digital ecosystem is rife with challenges that 8200 is called upon to work on. For example, it is currently providing the Israeli Health Ministry with data science expertise to analyze the evolving COVID-19 situation.
Finally, 8200 started out as a SIGNIT unit, but its talented leaders saw the need to take a disruptive approach to IT which laid the foundation for its successful cyber security capabilities.
Fostering Creativity and Longevity In A Military Setting
As a commander, Angel had to balance the discipline of the military with creativity. That meant not just enforcing rules, but interpreting and sometimes updating them based on the needs of the unit’s young talent. It’s a delicate balance. Retaining talent after a three-to-five-year military stint is also difficult. 8200 alumni are highly sought after.
Good Things Come In Threes
While there’s no magic bullet, Angel credits the military unit’s retention with three things: the privilege of participating in efforts that are highly significant for the country, their families, and communities; the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technologies; and the high caliber of experience and talent they get to work alongside. He also left the military with these three lessons: take risks and accept mistakes, surround yourself with people who are smarter thank you, and embrace uncertainty and constant challenge.
Threat Actor Taxonomy
When George poses a question about the most concerning cyber security threat actors of the future, Angel answers, “I believe that the main concern nowadays to be from nation state capabilities filtering to the cybercrime arena.
“I don’t have to mention examples such as Shadow Brokers and EternalBlue, WannaCry. My concern is that this is a case where something really had an influence and an impact in the world. My concern is that as more and more nations invest more and more in building cyber capabilities, the risk for this capabilities to leak to less, I would say less controlled cybercrime groups or actors increases.
“And this trend will certainly will suddenly change the balance between the attackers and the defenders as the attackers will have nation-state level resources, while defenders, unless we do something different, will have very limited resources and capabilities in their hands.”
Angel cites new technology adaptation during the pandemic crisis as a more immediate threat. The pressure and rush to use products such as Zoom means making security compromises, whether they be from the users to the developers to everything in between. Opportunistic cybercrime groups are taking advantage of these vulnerabilities,…