Israel, US Sign Groundbreaking Pact to Safeguard Financial Cybersecurity
Partners to mount exercise later this year to test the resilience of the financial system
Israel and the US signed an agreement in Jerusalem on Tuesday to boost cooperation on cyber-finance.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Deputy Assistant Secretary Todd Conklin signed for the US, and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, together with Yoni Mor, head of the Cyber, Emergency and Security Unit in the ministry, signed for Israel.
The agreement deepens and tightens cooperation in the protection of financial infrastructures and the stability of the financial sector for the purpose of strengthening the resilience of the national and international financial system, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
It includes sharing financial-cyber information, events, and threats, work methodologies to strengthen the resilience of the financial system, and conducting joint and cross-border cyber-financial exercises, the statement continued.
Today we are deepening the long-standing partnership between Israel and the US and deploying an Iron Dome to the financial system to protect against cyber threats
Toward the end of 2022, the ministry and the US Treasury will lead the first bilateral cyber-financial exercise, testing the resilience of the financial system in the face of a cyberattack, the ministry said.
“Today we are deepening the long-standing partnership between Israel and the US and deploying an Iron Dome to the financial system to protect against cyber threats.
“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 statement quoted Liberman as saying.
This partnership has already resulted in real-time cyber-threat data sharing to prevent ransomware distribution and other cyber attacks from affecting the US economic sector
Wally Adeyemo, deputy secretary of the Treasury, added, “We are pleased to welcome the Israeli government as a partner in our global effort to stop the extortion. This partnership has already resulted in real-time cyber-threat data sharing to prevent ransomware distribution and other cyber attacks from affecting the US economic sector. We look forward to expanding this partnership.”
This agreement is the first of its kind and follows a meeting between Liberman and Adeyemo in Jerusalem last November where both countries’ cyber-finance security needs were discussed.
A source in the Finance Ministry told The Media Line that the intensification of the cyber threat to the national and international financial ecosystem has the potential to damage economies and the stability of the financial sector.
“This threat is a catalyst for coordination between national and defense needs in the cyber-financial field,” said the source.
The financial systems are critical for national security infrastructures, and because of that, they need to be protected at the highest level
Col. (res.) Uri Halperin, CEO at ISTEC, an Israeli cybersecurity company, told The Media Line that hurting the financial systems of a country is hurting its national security.
“The financial systems are critical for national security infrastructures, and because of that, they need to be protected at the highest level,” he said. “It’s a real threat that needs to be addressed, and I think that what Israel and the United States are doing here, it’s very important.”
The source in the Finance Ministry added that the relations between the countries, and the recognition of the potential damage to the financial sector while understanding that international cooperation will contribute to the defense efforts, paved the way for the signing of the agreement.
Halperin noted that both Israel and the US are superpowers in the cyber-security field as they both possess a lot of information and defense technologies to protect their national security entities.
“The synergy between Israel and the United States concerning cyber provides them an additional layer [of protection] and an upgrade to the surveillance of the financial system,” he said.
Israel, Halperin explained, is leading a methodology that enables information sharing between entities, allowing them to be ready in the face of new threats.
Israel is also leading on another methodology, using simulators to train the Information Technology people in the financial system, which provides them an advanced capability to face the threats, he continued.
“You cannot train the IT people on the real platform of Morgan Stanley, for instance, because then you will actually bring the collapse of the bank. You need to take the IT people out to train them on the new threats because there are always new threats in this system, and then simulate it for them to react according to the threat,” Halperin said, adding that his company ISTEC has expertise in this.
On the other hand, the United States also has a lot of information in the cyber area, in large part because it’s the biggest economy and most of the technology companies come from there, he pointed out.