May 18, 2020 | The Hill

Protecting the financial system against the coming cyber storms

May 18, 2020 | The Hill

Protecting the financial system against the coming cyber storms

Excerpt

Moving the U.S. Secret Service from the Department of Homeland Security back to the Department of the Treasury is critically important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) recently introduced a bill to make this happen.

Most people don’t know that the Secret Service’s mission is not only focused on protecting the nation’s leadership but protecting the integrity of our financial system, namely through its cyber-enabled financial and counterfeiting investigations. Leveraging the Secret Service’s capabilities more effectively will be important in the coming months and years.

The financial sector is currently facing unprecedented challenges due to the virus. Banks had to adapt quickly to employees working from home. Customers are switching, sometimes leapfrogging, to digital financial services. States are pouring trillions of dollars of stimulus into their economies, and the financial system is the mechanism to distribute these recovery funds to businesses and citizens. Meanwhile, crypto-currencies and exchanges are assuming a more prominent role in the financial system.

Juan Zarate is the global co-managing partner of K2 Intelligence/Financial Integrity Network, the Chairman of the Center on Economic and Financial Power at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and was the deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security advisor for combating terrorism (2005-2009) and first-ever assistant secretary of the Treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes after 9/11. Follow Juan on Twitter @JCZarate1. Tim Maurer is the co-director of the Cyber Policy Initiative at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of “Cyber Mercenaries” (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

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Issues:

Blockchain and Digital Currencies COVID-19 Cyber Cyber-Enabled Economic Warfare North Korea Sanctions and Illicit Finance