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Eviatar Matania: "Microsoft has more power in defence than most nations on Earth"

The Tel Aviv University professor and founder and former director general of the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) gives a lecture in Madrid organised by the Nebrija University and the Association of Friends of Tel Aviv University
Eviatar Matania at Nebrija University

 -   Eviatar Matania at Nebrija University

Today's world, which is fighting for "cyber dominance", has given rise to "curious" actors such as Microsoft, "which is helping Ukraine" in the Russian invasion and which "has more power in defence than most nations on Earth". These tech giants "have become political actors because they have responsibilities to their customers". Eviatar Matania, professor at Tel Aviv University and founder and former director general of the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD), put forward this idea during a conference organised in Madrid by Nebrija University and the Association of Friends of Tel Aviv.

The cyber phenomenon, 'comparable to the global change brought about by the Industrial Revolution', generates 'a new pyramid of value' characterised by data, knowledge and wisdom. Small and medium-sized countries that understand this and focus on specific fields in the dual race of "cyber-military and cyber-domination" will be able to exercise leadership. The creation of an "ecosystem that invests in human capital and where the government can orchestrate" effective collaboration with the private sector and universities is in line with the Israeli model, the Tel Aviv University professor detailed.

Matania, one of the leading international experts in cybersecurity, argued, during his speech at a forum presented by María Gil, Director of Communication at Nebrija University, that it is not "enough" for a country that does not consider itself a world power to regulate against digital threats, but that it also "must educate people" without forgetting "the great directors of companies so that they develop intuition in making decisions" that are vital for the State.

In his speech at the Madrid-Princesa Campus of the Nebrija University, which coincided in time with the NATO Summit in Madrid, the Israeli professor explained that the United States and China dominate the data race and stand as the world's great technological developers. In this area, the EU "competes to be the best user". However, in the cyber-military race, the Americans and Chinese are competing with the Russians.

Israeli model

The Israeli example can serve, according to Matania, for other countries such as Spain that cannot compete, as the superpowers do, in both races. The INCD, a national cybersecurity centre, was created in 2011 "to defend the Israeli civilian sector" from cyberattacks of all kinds. The germ of this foundation originated in a decision in 2010 by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, during a visit to a military intelligence unit, told his defence minister that there was something new that was going to change politics and the future of states, and that they should approach it from a national point of view with the collaboration of the government, the business sector and universities. Until 2018, Eviatar Matania headed the INCD and reported directly to the prime minister on all actions and the country's cybersecurity strategy.

Eviatar Matania en la Universidad Nebrija
Eviatar Matania at Nebrija University
"Vigilant optimism"

Prior to the words of the cybersecurity expert, the event featured Patricia Nahmad, president of the Association of Friends of Tel Aviv University; Gustavo Suárez Pertierra, patron of Nebrija University, president of UNICEF and former Minister of Defence and Minister of Education and Science, and Ignacio Mataix, CEO of Indra. 

Nahmad underlined Matania's double profile as a professional in cybersecurity and as a university professor. She also mentioned the relevance of the agreement between Tel Aviv University (TAU) and Nebrija University that will activate different joint programmes.

For his part, Gustavo Suárez Pertierra pointed out that technology and its applications are part of the "DNA" of Nebrija University and constitute the "axis" of its teaching methodology. Defending training and actions such as placing people at the centre of it, the former minister said that in the present "we are committed to vigilant optimism in order to continue advancing without progress getting out of hand or remaining in dangerous hands".

Finally, Ignacio Mataix stated that the "growing importance of security and defence in our world is evident in the current scenario". In this framework, Indra is "a key player in international matters and in the defence and security industry". Among the actions in which Indra is involved, Mataix highlighted 19 projects financed by the European Defence Fund and its role as NATO's main supplier of mobile radars. 

The event was also attended by Rodica Radian-Gordon, Israel's ambassador in Spain; Marianne Cucher, director of the Public Relations office for Spain and Latin America of Tel Aviv University; Manuel Villa-Cellino, president of Nebrija University's Board of Governors, and José Muñiz, rector of Nebrija University, among other personalities.