The British and American financial systems will be tested to see how well they stand up to attacks by hackers, in the wake of the TalkTalk scandal
The biggest banks in the UK and US will face a simulated major cyber-attack from the Bank of England and its US counterparts this month, as officials probe the industry’s ability to withstand assaults from hackers looking to steal data or cripple the financial sector.
The simulation, dubbed Operation Resilient Shield, is the most sophisticated test of communications and co-ordination yet, following the Waking Shark series of trials run in recent years .
While those previous trials looked at how the UK banks’ personnel would respond to an attack and how the financial institutions would work with each other and with regulators to combat the attack, this operation will include trans-Atlantic co-ordination as well.
Resilient Shield is a joint operation which was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron on his visit to see President Barack Obama in January, and will be co-ordinated by CERT, the Computer Emergency Response Team, in both countries.
The tabletop exercise will test the channels of communication between each government, those governments and the banks they regulate, and the bank’s communications with each other.
At the time of the state visit, the White House said “both leaders agreed to bolster efforts to enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in both countries, strengthen threat information sharing and intelligence cooperation on cyber issues, and support new educational exchanges between US and British cybersecurity scholars and researchers.”
In August the Bank of England reviewed insurance firms’ cyber defences, as part of a programme of regularly assessing the strength of the sector’s security systems.
It comes after Bank of England governor Mark Carney highlighted cyber attacks as a key risk to the financial sector, calling for the resilience of firms to be “regularly assessed” to cope with the “adaptive nature of the threat”.
Earlier this year defence chiefs from the UK and the US warned the City of London that attacks from aggressive nations like Russia were an increasing threat to the security of financial institutions and their customers, as well as the wider economy.
Last month telecoms giant TalkTalk was hit by a major cyber attack .
Around 1.2m customers’ email addresses, names and phone numbers were stolen, along with 15,000 dates of birth.
The company also confirmed that 21,000 unique bank account numbers and sort codes were stolen, along with 28,000 obscured credit and debit card details.
This article was written by Tim Wallace from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.