Israel-United States signs cybersecurity deal
Israel and the United States signed on 23 August the first agreement for cyber-financial cooperation. An announcement from the Israeli Ministry of Finance says that the memorandum of understanding, signed with the US Treasury Department, will help strengthen long-standing relations and cooperation between the two countries, establishing a bilateral partnership to protect financial infrastructure critical and emerging technologies.
The new agreement reportedly includes three main areas of cooperation.
First, the memorandum provides for the sharing of financial cyber information between agencies on both sides, including cyber security regulations and guidelines, cyber security incidents, and cyber security threat intelligence.
A second area covered by the agreement is the mutual training of staff and the sharing of methodologies, to strengthen the IT resilience of financial institutions.
The third sector concerns skills development activities, including joint cross-border cyber-financing exercises. The first exercise is expected to take place later this year, exercising the resilience of financial institutions in the face of a cyber attack from entities that threaten to damage the immunity of states’ financial systems.
A joint task force it is expected to initiate a series of meetings and exchanges between technical experts, on policies, regulations and awareness to support fintech innovations designed to increase cyber protection and promote global compliance with international standards on anti-money laundering and terrorist financing. Israel and the United States aim not only to strengthen bilateral cooperation on cyber security, but also to expand global cooperation on this issue.
Minister of Finance Avigdor Liberman he said at the signing ceremony: “Today we are deepen the long-standing partnership between Israel and the United States and deploying an iron dome in the financial system to protect against cyber threats. Together, we are ready to maintain the continuity of the provision of essential financial services for the citizens of Israel and to maintain the normal functioning of the entire financial system. ”
US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said during the ceremony: “We are delighted to welcome the Israeli government as a partner in our global endeavor to stop extortion. This partnership has already led to real-time cyber threat data sharing to prevent ransomware distribution and other cyber attacks from affecting the US business sector. We look forward to expanding this partnership. ”
Yoni Mor, head of the information, emergency and security system at the Israeli ministry of finance, also praised the cooperation between the two countries, noting that the agreement “is a significant milestone in strengthening the concept of cyber defense of the financial system and we see it as the first swallow of international agreements and cooperation in these areas “.
The signing of the memorandum followed an October 13-14 virtual meeting of the International Counter-Ransomware Initiative, organized by the White House and hosting the European Union and more than 30 countries, including Israel.
In her keynote address, Deputy National Security Advisor Anne Neuberger explained why international cooperation to tackle ransomware is important, stating: “This is an incredibly complex ecosystem. In fact, during the opening plenary, for example, the Israeli representative noted that an Israeli hospital was attacked by a ransomware attack at that time. ”
Neuberger was referring to a cyber attack launched that day on the Hillel hospital in the city of Hadera, which serves the north-central part of the Israeli population. The attack blocked and blocked all the information systems of the facility, both administrative and medical.
A month later, on November 14, Adeyemo met Liberman and Yigal Unna, director of Israel’s National Cyber Directorate, in Israel. Following that meeting, the US Treasury Department announced a new partnership with Israel to expand bilateral cooperation in the fight against ransomware.
“Harnessing both the power of international cooperation and technological innovation will position us to support economic competitiveness, prosperity and to combat global threats including ransomware, “reads a statement released by Adeyemo. He continued:” As the global economy recovers and ransomware and other illicit financial threats pose a major challenge to Israel and the United States, increased information exchanges , joint work and collaboration on policy, regulation and enforcement are critical to our economic and national security goals. ”
The memorandum signed on 23 August offers the necessary legal and institutional framework for the US-Israel partnership. Other steps were taken in the period between that meeting and the signing of the memorandum.
For example, May 12, President Joe Biden signed an executive order on improving the nation’s cybersecurity. The executive order opens new US federal cybersecurity contracts to Israeli companies, worth an estimated $ 200 billion.
On a visit to Israel last week, the founder of Merlin Cyber David Phelps He noted that the order opens up new opportunities for startups dealing with cloud security, software supply chain, and zero-trust access to systems, all domains Israeli companies are working on. Phelps said there is currently an “increasingly pressing need for effective data protection in today’s uncertain world”, emphasizing the “special role of Israeli information technology in meeting this need.”
On July 27, Israel and the United States launched a new cybersecurity program which is expected to offer grants of up to $ 1.5 million, or up to 50% of research and development budgets, for startups and projects that develop solutions to protect public critical infrastructure.
The US Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, Israel National Information Directorate, and joint cooperation between the Israel-US Bi-National Foundation for Industrial Research and Development will lead the new program.