On November 14, the U.S. Treasury Department announced the establishment of a bilateral partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Finance as part of the Biden Administration’s efforts to crackdown on ransomware. The partnership is part of the U.S.-Israeli Task Force on Fintech Innovation and Cybersecurity, which was launched the same day. During the launch of the partnership, Treasury Department Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo and Israeli counterparts affirmed their commitment for encouraging robust fintech innovation and reinforced the importance of working together to combat cyber threats posed by nation-state and criminal actors to the global economy. The Task Force will take several measures, including immediately developing a Memorandum of Understanding that will support “(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.” The Task Force also plans to launch a series of expert technical exchanges to support fintech innovation and examine ways cyber-analytics firms and fintech/regtech innovations are developing new measures to combat illicit finance risk and enhance public sector analytical and enforcement activities. According to Adeyemo, international cooperation is vital for addressing virtual currency abuses and disrupting the ransomware business model.
Separately, on November 10, Vice President Kamala Harris announced, among other initiatives, an international cybersecurity initiative with France to combat cyber threats. Harris stated that the U.S. will support the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, which the White House described as “a voluntary commitment to work with the international community to advance cybersecurity and preserve the open, interoperable, secure, and reliable internet.” According to the announcement, the U.S. “looks forward to continued partnership with France and other governments, private sector, and civil society around the world to advance and promote norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace.” Harris’ announcement builds on recent counter-ransomware actions taken to increase international cooperation to combat cybercrime. (Covered previously by InfoBytes here.)