Bank of England reportedly organising "hacking" of banks including RBS

The Bank of England is to oversee a programme of simulated hacks on top financial institutions, according to media reports.

The Bank of England is to oversee a programme of simulated hacks on top financial institutions, according to media reports.

The central bank will use the latest intelligence on cybercrime to launch attacks on the systems of 20 banks and other financial institutions in order to assess the resilience of the UK to large scale cyber threats.

Banks thought likely to participate include Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and it is thought the London Stock Exchange will also take part.

The exercise will share many characteristics with the Waking Shark II event, a war game called in November 2013 to rehearse the response of major finance groups to a concerted cyber attack.

At the time, the Bank of England said: "The scenario was based on a concerted cyber-attack against the UK financial sector by a hostile nation state with the aim of causing significant disruption/dislocation within the wholesale market and supporting infrastructure.

"Overall the feedback on the exercise was positive with the vast majority of participants finding the exercise to be extremely useful."

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is currently investigating the resilience of the high street banks’ IT systems following a series of service failures.

A glitch on 3 December left RBS and NatWest customers unable to use debit cards or withdraw cash, while customers of Lloyds Banking Group were hit by an IT failure towards the end of January.

Payday traffic caused the mobile platforms of Barclays, Santander and RBS to collapse on 28 February and RBS and NatWest systems also collapsed on 28 March -a failure the lender again attributed to high traffic.

The regulators will report back on findings in early 2015, said the FCA.

 

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