Security

Israel security chief: Tech prevented more than 2,000 'lone-wolf' terror attacks last year

In a rare public speech Tuesday, Nadav Argaman, the head of Israel's security agency, the Shin Bet, explained how the country has harnessed tech to prevent "lone-wolf" terrorist attacks.

Speaking at the Cyber Week cybersecurity conference in Tel Aviv, Argaman explained that tech is proving a key weapon in the country’s fight against terrorism. “Despite the complexity, the Shin Bet, along with its partners, has succeeded, by means of technological, intelligence and operational adjustments, to thwart last year more than 2,000 potential lone wolf terrorists,” he said. “The breakthrough technological advances, along with familiarity with operational space and work, have contributed greatly to reducing the level of terror and our ability to defend against the threat of isolated attacks."

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Argaman described how technology can provide vital intelligence on how attackers operate. “In the cyber arena, we learn the enemy's patterns of action and know how to strike at him in a variety of ways and methods,” he said.

Earlier this month, The Economist reported that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have developed artificial intelligence algorithms to monitor the social media accounts of young Palestinians for early warning signs of potential attackers. This includes “tripwire” terms such as “the sword of Allah” and “day of the sword,” according to The Economist.

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The Shin Bet chief also explained how Israel is working with other intelligence bodies. “The Shin Bet maintains working relations with colleagues from intelligence organizations around the world and is ready to assist in the knowledge and experience that have accumulated in the face of the terror threats facing Western countries today,” he said.

Additionally, Argaman described, for the first time, the reorganization underway at the Israel Security Service, with its technology and cyber units rolling into one branch. “The Shin Bet is like an evolving start-up, with unmatched strength,” he said.

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