The rising menace of fake news and rumour-mongering on social media platforms in India, is a problem in Israel as well, the country’s cyber security expert Zori Kor told
The Hindu
on Thursday.

He said, “Israel, too, faces a similar problem, where fake images of Palestinian families supposedly left wrecked by attacks by the Israeli Defence Force are made viral on social media. The government has observed lack of cooperation on part of social media companies in countering such issues.”

Mr. Kor, who is also an expert in home land security, delivered a talk at a cyber security seminar organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry in Lower Parel. A veteran of the Israeli Security Agency, who had retired after 25 years of service, Mr. Kor is now an adviser for the ASERO on strategic solutions for information technology and cyber security.

Citing the example of Facebook, Mr. Kor said, “We are in the same boat. We have the same issues when it comes to hate speech, anti-semitism, racism, and conflicts that Israel has with its neighbours. We have approached Facebook more than once when we wanted it to be fixed, and yes, not always did we get what we wanted.” The cyber security expert said there has been repeated dialogue between various countries and social media companies, but the companies are not as cooperative as the governments would like them to be.

On being asked why there is reluctance on part of companies like Facebook to cooperate with law enforcement agencies, Mr. Kor said he does not own Facebook, but on Thursday he saw on the news that the share value of Facebook has dropped significantly.

“And I am not surprised. In the last several months, many cases, including the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, have told us how strong the social media is. Now people are slowly understanding the need to minimise its influence on our daily life.”

In his talk, Mr. Kor said the cyber and physical world have merged over the last few years and there is a need to do away with separate physical and cyber security departments.

“Earlier, you would see men with helmets and pistols robbing banks. Today, you no longer see them, but banks are still being robbed. Physical and cyber security can no longer work separately. For example, if a hacker penetrates your company’s network and sets off a fire alarm, most, if not all employees, will run out of the building without locking their computers. The hackers then can easily walk into the building in a fireman’s uniform, with unhindered access to all your systems,” Mr. Kor said.

Superintendent of Police Balsing Rajput, one of the panellists, said data privacy, which builds trust, and an Indian footprint, which will enable direct contact with Israel, will go a long way in nurturing relations between the countries.

India and Israel signed several pacts in January, including an agreement on cyber security.

Many cases have told us how strong social media is. Now people are realising the need to minimise its influence on our daily life

Zori Kor

Cyber security expert

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