The US Department of the Treasury and Israel’s Finance Ministry last week announced the finalization of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Cybersecurity Cooperation.
The MoU builds on US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo’s visit to Israel in November 2021 which established a bilateral partnership to protect critical infrastructure in the financial sector and recognized the importance of deepening cooperation on cybersecurity to protect the integrity of the international financial system.
The cybersecurity firm VirusTotal published its Ransomware Activity Report in 2021, based on 80 million ransomware samples from 140 countries, and found that Israel, South Korea, Vietnam, China, Singapore, India, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Iran, and the United Kingdom were the 10 most-affected countries. According to the report, Israel had an almost 600% increase in ransomware attacks between January 2020 and September 2021.
In October 2021, Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera was the victim of a ransomware attack.
“We are pleased to have the government of Israel as partners in our global effort to stop ransomware,” said Deputy Secretary Adeyemo. “This partnership has already resulted in the sharing of real-time cyber threat data to prevent the spread of ransomware and other cyber attacks from impacting the US financial sector. We look forward to expanding this partnership.”
On his trip to Israel in November 2021, Adeyemo launched a bilateral Cyber Task Force with Israel to help combat the global threat of ransomware. While Treasury and MOF have a long-standing cybersecurity information-sharing relationship, the MoU formalizes and strengthens the close partnership between both agencies. Specifically, the MoU enhances cooperation in the following areas:
- Information sharing relating to the financial sector including cybersecurity information on incidents and threats
- Staff training and study visits to promote cooperation in the area of cybersecurity
- Competency-building activities such as the conduct of cross-border cybersecurity exercises.