US to partner with Israel to combat ransomware attacks

The partnership follows measures taken to combat a surge in ransomware that has struck several big US companies. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US Treasury Department said on Sunday (Nov 14) it will partner with Israel to combat ransomware, with the two countries launching a joint task force to address cybersecurity.

The task force will develop a memorandum of understanding supporting information sharing related to the financial sector, including cybersecurity regulations and threat intelligence, the Treasury Department said.

The announcement follows a virtual meeting on ransomware that held at the White House in October with the European Union and more than 30 countries, including Israel.

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo asked then for international cooperation to address the abuse of virtual currency and disrupt the ransomware business model.

The partnership follows measures taken to combat a surge in ransomware that has struck several big US companies, including an attack on the largest fuel pipeline in the United States that crippled fuel delivery for several days.

A broader US-Israeli task force was also launched on Sunday to address issues related to fintech and cybersecurity, the Treasury Department said.

Mr Adeyemo met with Israeli Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Director-General of the National Cyber Directorate Yigal Unna in Israel on Sunday to establish a bilateral partnership, the department said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the US Justice Department charged a Ukraine national and a Russian in one of the worst ransomware attacks against American targets.

Separately, the FBI said Sunday that hackers did not access any data or personal information on its network, a day after they compromised an agency server to send out thousands of fake emails.

The agency said it has fixed the software vulnerability that allowed the attack.

The fake emails originated from an FBI-operated server, which was dedicated to pushing notifications to the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP), which the

FBI uses to communicate with state and local agencies.

The compromised server was not part of the FBI's corporate email service, the FBI added.

The fake emails warned of a cyberattack and appeared to come from a legitimate FBI email address ending in, the FBI said.

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