Maryland Governor Visits BGU to Talk Cyber Security Collaborations


Maryland Governor Larry Hogan led a large delegation to BGU last week with the intent to generate “real collaboration” in the field of cyber security research as well as other fields.

Hogan headed a week-long trade delegation comprised of some of his officials, representatives of four Maryland universities and members of the Jewish community.

“This is an incredible opportunity for real collaboration,” Hogan said, “Maryland is the heart of the Mid-Atlantic region and Beer-Sheva is right in the geographic center of Israel. Maryland is the cyber capital of the US and Beer-Sheva is the cyber capital of Israel.” He said 24 Israeli companies had headquarters in Maryland and he hoped to bring in many more.

Mike Gill, Secretary of Commerce, noted that Maryland had great assets to support cyber security research such as Fort Mead and the NSA, which has 60,000 employees. He praised the Israeli mentality of not waiting for permission but just going out and getting it done.

Christy Wyskiel, Senior Advisor to Johns Hopkins University President, mentioned two potential institutes that were good candidates for collaboration with BGU’s Cyber Security Research CenterThe Applied Physics Lab has 30,000 employees, 400 of whom research cyber security. She also mentioned the Information Security Institute, which made the news last year by hacking one of the San Bernardino terrorists’ mobile phones. “We are excited to work together toward common goals,” she said.

University of Maryland Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Antonio Moreira said 60% of their students study computer science or engineering. “Partnerships are the secret to our success,” he added.

University of Maryland Cyber Initiative Executive Director Daniel Ennis said the triad of academia, government, and industry was crucial for promoting cyber security research. He opined that the government could help set funding priorities.

A longtime US intelligence official, Ennis said he had collaborated with Israeli security agencies for years. As part of his new role to generate more global partnerships, he said he had already met with Israel National Cyber Bureau head Dr. Evyatar Matania.

BGU was represented by VP and Dean for R&D Prof. Dan Blumberg who warmly welcomed the delegation and gave a brief overview of the university.

Deutsche Telekom Innovation Labs@BGU Director and Cyber Security Research Center Director Prof. Yuval Elovici highlighted the threats inherent in the Internet of Things. He gave a seemingly simple example of a smart fridge being hacked and locked and the hacker demanding a ransom to let you back into your own fridge. Elovici is a member of the Department of Information and Software Systems Engineering.

Dell-EMC Site Manager Maya Hofman-Levy gave a brief overview of their work in Beer-Sheva and Barrel Kfir, Business Development Manager at JVP Cyber Labs outlined the venture capital fund’s activities.

The mood at the meeting was upbeat and optimistic with much emphasis put on generating real partnerships rather than just partnerships on paper.