UK banks are to take part in a one-day, extensive cyber threat exercise that will test the ability of the financial system to withstand a major cyber attack.
The exercise, dubbed Operation Waking Shark 2, is scheduled for mid-November, with all high street banks expected to take part in attempting to deal with a simulated cyber attack on the payments and market systems that underpin the whole financial system, The Telegraph reports.
The operation is the first of its kind since the now defunct Financial Services Authority (FSA) tested the UK’s financial systems’ online defences in 2011.
The Bank of England, Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority are to monitor the latest test, to assess which of the UK’s core financial services providers are able to withstand cyber attacks.
The results of the operation will be used to benchmark banks and other financial services firms in terms of their cyber security. Those institutions who are found to have weaker defences are to be told to invest more in their defence capabilities.
Cyber attacks from within the UK and abroad are fast becoming one of the main threats to the UK banking system.
The Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) has been working on improving awareness, and warning firms of the need to strengthen their online capabilities.
Just last week, the FPC ordered banks and infrastructure providers to come up with “concrete plans” by the end of the first quarter of 2014 to toughen up their cyber defences, with a progress report to be handed to the FPC at the end of 2013.