PwC launches industrial cybersecurity training centre in Israel

16 May 2019 4 min. read

Professional services leader PwC has opened a Cybersecurity Experience Centre at its Centre of Excellence in Israel, dedicated to Operational Technology.

Launched in Be’er Sheva in the southern region of the Israel last year, global professional services firm PwC’s international Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (CCoE) focuses on Industrial Control Systems & Operations Technology Security, and was established to serve both governments and multinational industrial companies worldwide with critical infrastructure protection through robust cyber-defence.

Now, the firm has opened an attendant Cyber Security Experience Centre (CSEC), described as the first of its kind. Replicating an integrated critical infrastructure ecosystem, the CSEC currently features cyber-kinetic modules in sectors which include oil & petrochemical refining, natural gas distribution, railway transportation, pharmaceutical manufacturing, smart buildings, defence drones, and IoT among others.

“Our Cyber Security Experience Centre in Israel allows us to collaborate with clients and partners worldwide,” said Grant Waterfall, PwC’s London-based EMEA Cyber Security & Privacy leader. “This builds trust in their organisations through resilient operations in an innovation-rich environment that closely mimics the actual experience of both offensive and defensive cyber events.”

Featuring scaled down kinetic models of operational technology (OT – referring to the use of information technology to control physical processes, devices and infrastructure) which are connected to physical PLCs and Industrial Control Systems (ICS) networks to simulate a highly sophisticated cybersecurity environment, the CSEC allows participants to experiment and experience what a cyber-attack on their facility would truly be like.PwC launches industrial cybersecurity training centre in Israel

“One of the greatest challenges on the journey to improving cyber security in ICS & OT is bridging the trust barriers among all those partaking in this journey,” said Rafael Maman, PwC Israel Cybersecurity practice leader. “I have no doubt that by allowing our clients and partners to actually experience the cyber threats they are facing, and jointly explore solutions, we will help to remove the trust barriers and solve important problems.”

Industry insiders, PwC says, broadly expect that in the coming years the most significant developments in cybersecurity globally will be around national critical infrastructures and industrial enterprise OT security – which can oftentimes overlap – and one of those important problems, according to a recent report from Accenture, appears to be the increasingly sophisticated threat from actors within Iran.

Saudi Arabia meanwhile – the most cyber-attacked country in the Middle East and among the top 20 worldwide – has itself been responding vigorously to the threat of cyber-kinetic attacks from Iran and beyond (already having suffered from attacks on local petrochemical plants designed to cause fatal explosions) by significantly ramping up its capacities, recently bringing in a range of high level partners including defence consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton.

David Clarke, PwC’s Global Chief Experience Officer, concludes; “This is going to be a fantastic platform to gather and bring in great talent to solve important problems in new ways. It is in Experience Centers like this one, where we are creating the future of Cyber Security. PwC have close to 30 Experience Centers around the world, but this is our first center dedicated to cyber security and we are so excited to be a part of all of the innovation that is to come.”

With a report from consultancy LSP Digital last year noting that the regarded high-tech start-up sector of Israel was shifting its focus to AI, fintech and cybersecurity, PwC contends that the unique location of its new centre will allow it to tap into the bustling technology innovation ecosystem in Israel, to “continuously identify game-changing cybersecurity technologies that could be integrated into PwC's end-to-end cybersecurity framework.”

Related: EY opens cybersecurity centre for Middle East and North Africa