US official to visit Israel and the Middle East amid cyberattacks

US Under Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo will travel to the Middle East on Friday, a Treasury spokesman told Reuters, where he will seek to establish partnerships on ransomware and cybersecurity as hackers wreak havoc among some of the most vital industries in the United States. USA.
Adeyemo, in the highest-ranking visit by a Treasury official to the region under the administration of President Joe Biden, will also discuss the fight against the financing and proliferation of terrorism, as well as the economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic in his visits to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Emirates and Qatar.

In Israel, Adeyemo will discuss how to approach technology to counter ransomware and other cyberspace-related threats, the spokesperson said.

It was unclear whether it would raise the Israeli spyware company NSO Group, which the US Department of Commerce added to its commercial blacklist this month, saying they sold spyware to foreign governments who used the equipment to target government officials, journalists. and others.

Biden has made the government’s cybersecurity response a top priority following a series of attacks this year that threatened to destabilize the US food and energy supply.

Hackers use ransomware to take down the systems that control everything from hospital billing to manufacturing. They stop only after receiving hefty payments, usually in cryptocurrencies.

Hacker (illustrative) (credit: PXFUEL)

This year, gangs have targeted numerous American businesses in large-scale attacks. One such attack on pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline caused a temporary fuel supply shortage on the East Coast of the United States. Hackers also targeted an Iowa-based agricultural company, raising fears of grain harvest disruptions in the Midwest.

The US Treasury Department, in a sanctions review last month, warned that digital currencies and payment systems could reduce the effectiveness of US sanctions, allowing the transfer of funds outside of the dollar-based financial system.

“The undersecretary’s visit comes on the heels of a sanctions review that emphasized multilateral coordination on sanctions, as well as the threats posed by emerging technologies such as virtual assets,” the spokesperson said.

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