The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Sunday that it was expanding cooperation with Israel to combat the threat of ransomware.

The bilateral cooperation will take the form of a U.S.-Israeli Task Force on Fintech Innovation and Cybersecurity, the Treasury said in a statement.

The launch of the task force comes on the heels of the Counter-Ransomware Initiative meeting, held virtually last month at the White House, with the participation of the European Union and more than 30 countries, including Israel, according to the statement.

“Harnessing both the power of international cooperation and of technology innovation will position us to support economic competitiveness and prosperity, and to combat global threats, including ransomware,” said Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo, who met in Israel on Sunday with Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman and National Cyber Directorate director Yigal Unna.

“As the global economy recovers, and ransomware and other illicit finance threats present a grave 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 objectives,” said Adeyemo.

The task force “will immediately begin work on developing a Memorandum of Understanding supporting (1) permissible information sharing related to the financial sector, including cybersecurity regulations and guidance, cybersecurity incidents and cybersecurity threat intelligence; (2) staff training and study visits to promote cooperation in the area of cybersecurity and the financial system; and (3) competency-building activities, such as the conduct of cross-border cybersecurity exercises linked to global financial institutions financial and investment flows,” said the Treasury.

In addition, the task force will begin engaging in a series of bilateral exchanges on policy, regulation and outreach, “to advance compliance with international standards on anti-money laundering, counter-terrorist financing and countering the financing of proliferation.”

The Treasury will also send representatives to participate in the CyberTech Global Tel Aviv conference in January.


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