The United States and Britain will test how its regulators would respond if their financial sectors suffered a major cyber-attack. As Ciara Lee reports, the joint simulation will be the most sophisticated test of its kind yet for British financial institutions.
It's dubbed 'Operation Resilient Shield' and is expected to be the most sophisticated simulation of a cyber-attack yet for British financial institutions. Teaming up with the U.S., experts will stage the assault over the next month to test how well the sector can cope. It will also focus on how regulators for the world's two biggest financial centers communicate in an emergency Businesses on both sides of the Atlantic have shown vulnerability to hacking. Just last month, attacks threatened the data of 4 million customers of British telecoms company TalkTalk and 15 million clients of T-Mobile US. Banks could be vulnerable too - with the Bank of England saying they need to do more. Andrew Barstow is a partner in charge of EY's cyber security in financial services. (SOUNDBITE) EY PARTNER, FINANCIAL SERVICES, EMEIA, ANDREW BARSTOW, SAYING: "Around the concept of trying to reduce costs, they've introduced far more third parties that have direct connections to their systems. Trying to introduce customer service, they've allowed far more devices for customers to use. The digital age is here. The digital age brings sophistication and therefore it is far more difficult to protect your systems and put the controls around them. Where the threat is coming from is also changing. From lone individuals to groups sponsored by hostile nations. (SOUNDBITE) EY PARTNER, FINANCIAL SERVICES, EMEIA, ANDREW BARSTOW, SAYING: "Probably the biggest threat to financial institutions is the organised crime. These are now far more organised, far more sophisticated and far better funded than they ever were. They're more likely to perpetrate a hack that leaves something, a worm, on the system to sleep dormant and attack at a later stage." The cost of such a breach could be catastrophic for the industry. And experts are warning other sectors, particularly energy, should also beware - they too may need to take similar precautions.