The US and Israel Team Up for Fintech Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a major concern all over the world as terrorists are increasingly using ransomware and hacking to hold up essential, and in some cases, life-saving services. High-profile attacks in the U.S. and Israel along with data-sharing between both nations in security and high-tech have created a need for a bilateral cybersecurity agreement. Enhanced collaboration on cybersecurity is expected to benefit both economies as well as American and Israeli investments.

The Bilateral Cybersecurity Partnership

On November 14, 2021, the U.S. Treasury Department announced a bilateral cybersecurity partnership between the U.S and Israel “to protect critical financial infrastructure and emerging technologies” and combat the use of ransomware, as reported by The National Law Review. As part of the agreement, the countries launched the U.S. and Israeli Task Force on Fintech Innovation and Cybersecurity.

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and Wally Adeyemo, Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and General of the National Cyber Directorate Yigal Unna met in Israel. The first task is to create a Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties with agreements about information sharing, regulations, staff training, as well as drills and exercises to test systems. Both parties will also participate in the Cybertech Tel Aviv Conference headed by the Israel Defense.

Following the meeting, Wally Adeyemo released a statement: “Harnessing both the power of international cooperation and of technology innovation will position us to support economic competitiveness, prosperity, and to combat global threats including ransomware. Increased information exchanges, joint work, and collaboration on policy, regulation, and enforcement are critical to our economic and national security objectives.”

The Need for U.S. and Israel Cooperation on Cybersecurity

Both the U.S. and Israel have made cybersecurity a main priority thwarting potentially devastating attacks. The U.S. faced the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack in which terrorists held up service of the largest pipeline in the U.S. until it paid $4.4 million in bitcoin.

Fortunately, the FBI was able to track down the transactions on the blockchain and virtually all of the money was returned when the hackers were caught. However, the attack sent a powerful message about the rising tide of cybersecurity threats and the newest form of terrorism.

It would be an understatement to say Israel is no stranger to ransomware threats and other attempted cybersecurity breaches. According to a Ransomware Activity Report, the number of ransomware attacks on Israeli targets has increased 600% since 2020, and according to Checkpoint data, Israel receives double the amount of cybersecurity threats as the average in other countries.

One of the major targets is the Israeli healthcare sector was seen in October when nine hospitals and healthcare facilities in Israel faced ransomware attacks in a few days. Fortunately, these attacks were thwarted, but systems were down in some hospitals and staff even had to use pencil and paper to collect essential data.

It is in the interests of both Israel and the U.S. to establish joint cybersecurity agreements, training, and regulations since the two countries interact often in the areas of technical innovation, fintech, and security. The desire to invest in Israel, particularly the tech sector is growing, but there is also a need to ensure Israeli investments are secure and protected from attack.

Many Israeli companies work jointly with U.S. corporations either as partnerships or as the result of mergers. Staff often need to share sensitive information, whether it is client data or intellectual property through platforms that need to be secure. With a bilateral agreement that ensures that the U.S. and Israel are on the same page regarding cybersecurity best practices and regulations, it is safe to invest in Israel and extend Israeli and U.S. business partnerships.

Enhanced Cybersecurity Provides a Great Opportunity to Invest in Israel

The more secure companies are and safer from attack, the more reliable their services will be and the more room there is to grow. The U.S. and Israeli Task Force on Fintech Innovation and Cybersecurity is yet another good reason to Invest in Israel and the Jerusalem Portfolio is one of the most reliable and profitable Israeli Investments.

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