Financial News

  • 6 February 2014, 7:26

Bank Of England Pushes For 'Cyber Comms' Body

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) is tipped to become the City's communication hub to deal with any future mass cyber-attacks.

The possible new duty comes after the Bank of England (BoE) made the recommendation, following a 'war game' by the banking sector, regulators and government agencies.

The mock attack was conducted last November and codenamed Waking Shark II.

Overseen by the BoE, it has only now released the exercise's findings publicly.

The report said the exercise's participating banks kept regulatory authorities well-informed however there was only "some communications" between the banks and the City's financial management infrastructure (FMI).

The BoE said "there is no formal communication coordination within the wider sector".

It added: "Consideration will be given to the identification of a single coordination body from industry to manage communications across the sector during an incident."

The BBA needs the role to be approved by its members, in a consultation that may take several months.

BBA senior policy director in charge of capital markets team Andrew Rogan said: "We and our members will continue to work closely with the Government and regulators to ensure robust mechanisms are in place to make life harder for those who seek to attack our financial architecture in this way.

"We will consider the recommendations in the Bank of England's report carefully and are looking seriously at what role we could play in the future to combat these threats."

The BoE said at least four existing bodies offer a framework for communications amongst their members.

However, information is not carried cross-sector to other financial institutions "outside the core systemic wholesale and retail firms".

It said the existing bodies communicating to their own members are the Securities Industry Business Continuity Management Group, the Investment Banking Special Interest Group for Information Security, the Cross Market Business Continuity Group and the Financial Services Information Exchange.

The BBA's possible role would fill a gap opened after it relinquished oversight of the tarnished Libor benchmark, with control recently handed over to the US-based IntercontinentalExchange Group.

The report also revealed that although around 220 people from regulatory, banking and government agencies were involved in Waking Shark II, no law enforcement representatives took part.

It surmised that police were not informed because of widespread media attention before the exercise and because reporting duty was the responsibility of another group, the Cyber-Security Information Sharing Partnership.

It concluded: "The types of attack witnessed during the Waking Shark exercise would constitute a criminal offence and organisations will be reminded of the need to report such incidents to the appropriate authorities, including law enforcement."

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