09 Oct 2013

UK Banks Prepare for Cyber Attacks

The British financial ecosystem is taking a cyber-security test next month. The stock market, providers of online payment services and banks will enroll in a stress test to assess their ability to fend off cyber-attacks as the online hazards grow in complexity and intensity.

“Financial institutions now suffer cyber intrusions on a regular basis: we only have to remember the May arrests for the $45m that were stolen from ATMs around the world, or the £1.3m cyber theft against Barclays in April," said Alex Mifsud, chief exec of payments firm Ixaris. "Organised and extensive stress tests on the cyber defences of the UK’s banks and payments service providers are therefore to be welcomed and will help ensure that successful attacks are minimised."

The stress test, dubbed Operation Waking Shark 2, will take place in November when high-profile banks in ther UK will have a one-day “war game” with simulated cyber-attacks from hack groups and governments.

These tests will be supervised by the Bank of England, the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority two years after a similar action was initiated by the Financial Services Authority to measure the level of readiness of financial institutions when faced with cyber-attacks.

The Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee has repeatedly warned about the need to monitor banks’ online defences, as well as those of other key financial services providers, as reported by The Telegraph.

 “While there is no silver bullet to protecting a financial institution from cyber-attack, there are several best practice measures that can easily be applied to minimize risk.” Mifsud added.