The United States and Israel have finalized an agreement to work together to protect the financial sector from cybersecurity attacks, the U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) reached with the Israeli Ministry of Finance follows a partnership between the two agencies made public in November 2021. The creation of a bilateral cyber task force was announced by U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo during a visit to Israel. Adeyemo said at the time the aim of the cooperation was to protect the international financial system, particularly by safeguarding financial infrastructure.
The MOU enhances and strengthens the 2021 agreement, according to Treasury.
The gravity of the threat posed to the United States by cybersecurity breaches was underscored by President Joe Biden during a four-day trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia in July, during which he said the United States would work closer with those two nations to thwart cyberattacks.
Under the MOU, the agencies will share information about cybersecurity incidents and threats and cooperate on staff training and building expertise in working across borders on cybersecurity.
“We are pleased to have the government of Israel as partners in our global effort to stop ransomware,” Adeyemo said in a statement. “This partnership has already resulted in the sharing of real time cyber threat data to prevent the spread of ransomware and other cyberattacks from impacting the U.S. financial sector. We look forward to expanding this partnership.”
“Today we are deepening the long-standing partnership between Israel and the U.S. and deploying an iron dome to the financial system to protect against cyber threats,” Israeli Minister of Finance Avigdor Lieberman said in a translated statement. “Together we are prepared to maintain the continuity of the supply of essential financial services for the citizens of Israel and to maintain the normal operation of the entire financial system.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Israel National Cyber Directorate agreed in March to work together to fight ransomware and cooperate on research and emerging technology to protect the nations from cyber threats.