The Bank of England (BoE) is checking the UK’s ability to withstand a major cyber-attack on financial institutions. Several firms including leading banks are participating in a one-day “war-gaming” exercise designed to assess their strength. The Bank is conducting the exercise on Friday together with the Treasury, City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority and UK Finance and the industry trade body.
This exercise is the latest in a series of simulated attacks hosted by the BoE every two years to ensure that firms are able to meet certain minimum recovery standards in case if it is affected by a cyber-attack.
According to the Bank, this exercise will enable the authorities and firms to identify improvements to their collective response arrangements, improving the resilience of the sector as a whole.
The tests will not be carried out on a pass or fail basis but the BoE might make public some of the lessons learned at a later time.
The Bank fears that interference to one bank’s payments will have a direct impact on the economy, by preventing its customers from paying for goods and services. This might lead to a ripple effect that can spread to other banks.
Robert Schifreen, a hacker turned cyber-security expert, says that the exercise was welcome but unrealistic. When you are hacked, it normally happens on a Sunday afternoon, so the people you need to contact might be on their holiday and have not informed you about their contact numbers, so it’s not realistic, even then it is good to see them doing something.