HomeMiddle East & AfricaCyberint scours dark web to protect e&

    Cyberint scours dark web to protect e&


    Historic UAE-Israeli cyber defence accord

    Telecoms companies are increasingly being targeted by cyber-attacks because they’re old and vulnerable, according to intelligence specialist Cyberint Technologies, an Israeli security start up that operates in the dark web. Telecoms companies have been identified as ‘marks’ because of their legacy systems, silos of high value personal data and a growing reputation for being good for a shakedown. Now the Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat Group (AKA etisalat by e&) has appointed Cyberint to take the fight to criminals by scouring the dark web to spy on bad actors and gather intelligence on their plans. The Israeli cyber-intelligence firm will use a new approach to protect the telco’s infrastructure from cybercriminals.

    The extraordinary partnership comes after the UAE and Israel signed a normalisation agreement in 2020 as part of the US-backed Abraham Accords, which paved the way for companies to openly forge cooperation ties that already existed but were kept under wraps due to political sensitivities. In April last year, Israel and the UAE signed a free trade agreement. In December, the heads of the cyber agencies from Morocco, Bahrain, the UAE and Israel gathered in Bahrain for the first time to discuss the establishment of a joint cyber defence platform to share and conduct regional investigations amid increased threats from Iranian hackers. Gabi Portnoy, director general of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, presented an Israeli initiative to create a national cyber dome aimed at strengthening the cyber defence of the entire economy.

    Cyberint’s intelligence platform gives instant responses to cyberattack attempts coming from beyond the traditional security perimeters to fix them before they become a crisis, according to Sharon Wrobel, in The Times of Israel. Cyberint tracks cyber-mercenaries and threat actors, then alerts telcos of their imminent criminal intentions. A multi-million shekel three-year agreement will see e& use Cyberint’s instant intelligence and attack surface management system to protect itself from ransomware, leaked credentials and fraud. This will put etisalat by e& through proactive paces against targeted attacks or campaigns, neutralising them before they occur.

    No enterprise should wait until its data is compromised or its service taken down, but many do, according to Cyberint CEO Yochai Corem. “Forward-looking companies, in critical verticals like telecom are taking action and turning the tables on cybercriminals.” Cyberint’s Argos digital risk protection platform creates instant threat intelligence by constantly analysing of hundreds of millions of data points and monitoring of external risk exposure. The platform tracks cybercriminals in the dark and deep web, criminal forums, market places, social media platforms, instant messaging, file sharing repositories and anywhere criminals gather. Cyberint’s brief is to protect businesses from fraud, phishing, malware, data leakage, vulnerabilities, brand and social media risks.

    Cyber threats to the telecom industry are rapidly increasing because telcos have legacy technology, large attack surfaces and valuable information, according to a Cyberint statement. High-profile attacks that netted sensitive personal data have encouraged others. “This underscored the dangers faced by the telecom industry,” it said. Etisalat by e&’s senior vice president of cybersecurity Ayman A AlShehi said the Cyberint pact is critical to the telco. “Cutting-edge detection methods will help us stay ahead of emerging threats and keep our systems and data secure,” said AlShehi.

    Abu Dhabi-based etisalat by e&, AKA Etisalat Group, was established four decades ago as UAE’s first telecom service provider. It now has 155.4 million subscribers in 16 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa, including mobile, TV and Internet subscribers, as well as hundreds of thousands of businesses who use their digital, cloud and communication services. Tel Aviv-based Cyberint raised $40 million in a Series C round in June, backed by Clal Insurance, Menora and Bank Hapoalim; Neva SGR, part of Intesa Sanpaolo Group; and Viola Growth.