The UK banking sector is to take part in a cyber attack simulation to test its resilience to sophisticated cyber crimes.
The exercise, named Operation Waking Shark 2, will run for one day in mid November and will see those across the financial services sector including UK banks, the stock market and payment providers undergoing a ‘war game’ which would simulate a ‘very severe’ attack.
It is the most thorough test of the digital defences of UK financial organisations since Operation Waking Shark in 2011 under the now-defunct Financial Services Authority (FSA).
The first Operation Waking Shark two years ago mimicked a large-scale industry-wide cyber attack over the course of a day, including the complete failure of payments systems and major IT platforms
This year’s test will be monitored by the Bank of England, Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority and all high street banks are expected to take part.
The news follows warnings from the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) last month that the financial system had a number of major vulnerabilities and needed to devise a way of bolstering its defences.
According to minutes of last month’s FPC meeting, the Committee said that banks and financial organisations had six months to outline their cyber security strategies, with a progress report handed in by the end of this year.
In the meeting, the FPC said that the financial system’s security weaknesses were due to a ‘high degree of interconnectedness, its reliance on centralised market infrastructure and its sometimes complex legacy IT systems.’
See also: How to hack a bank (theoretically)