Author: David Webber
Concerted preventative action to prevent malicious attacks
Operation Waking Shark 2 is due to take place in Britain in mid-November and although it may sound like something from an episode of Homeland, it is in fact a serious test of Britain’s financial services providers. Monitored by the Bank of England, Treasury and the Financial Conduct Authority, every major bank will be expected to put its ability to withstand a sustained cyber-attack to the test.
With a quarter of the world’s major banks experiencing a serious online security breach in 2012, cyber security is now considered one of the main threats to the banking system. Just a few weeks ago, cyber criminals attempted to gain remote control of Santander and Barclays’ computers using a keyboard video mouse switch, while viruses that target customer accounts, such as Citadel malware, are becoming increasingly prevalent. Operation Waking Shark 2 shows concerted preventative action by the government and financial services industry to prevent such malicious attacks.
But will this give Brits more confidence in digital banking?
At the moment, consumers are at a cross-road. While an overwhelming majority expect to be able to use any mobile device to manage their finances, only a quarter are happy to make payments of up to £20 on their smartphones. Rigorous testing, of which this stress test is a significant part, may go some way to changing this and turning the minority into the majority.
By extensively testing both internally and externally, with penetration tests and ethical hacking, we can ruthlessly assess our security systems. As hackers become increasingly sophisticated, we must continually test and question our defences, so that we can prevent hacktivist or malicious cyber-attacks. We may find a pleasing side effect of pro-active system protection is that we can reassure consumers that we’re doing our best to protect their livelihoods.