UK Bank ‘Cyber War Games’ Coming In November

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Bank of England to oversee stress tests next month

Banks across the UK will be taking part in a threat exercise next month to see if they can handle serious cyber attacks.

Operation Waking Shark 2 follows a similar stress test from 2011 and will be overseen by the Bank of England, the Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority.

Bank finance © Paul Fleet Shutterstock 2012Cyber preparations

Described as a cyber “war game”, the tests were described by one source as the simulation of a “very severe” attack. “This is absolutely vital work and will enable us to see how our defences work in the event of a real attack and what areas need to be improved,” the source said.

The Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) has been talking up the need for cyber tests across the nation’s financial institutions. It said last week that it wanted to see a “concrete plan in place to deliver a high level of protection against cyber attacks for each institution at the core of the financial system”.

The body said action plans should be in place by the first quarter of 2014.

Results of the latest Operation Waking Shark will be used to create benchmarks for financial bodies to live up to.

Recent attacks on Barclays and Santander, where millions could have been stolen, used fairly crude methods, involving a remote control device attached to machines by fake IT workers.

Heavy distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks also rocked a number of US banks throughout last year and at the start of 2013.

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