Friday, July 19, 2013

Wall Street Is Mock-Hacking Itself to Prepare for a Potential Cyberattack


When 50 major financial firms, the Department of Homeland Security, the US Treasury, and the Federal Reserve team up to see if they could to keep the market from crashing in the event of a major cyberattack, you know people are starting to get nervous.

That's precisely the scenario underway today down on Wall Street, in a large-scale coordinated cybersecurity drill called Quantum Dawn 2.

The mock attack, organized by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), is executed by a software tool that simulates a stream of security breaches. Bankers are giving snippets of "vague and confusing" information about what's going on—slow trading, viruses in the system—and must put their heads together to decide what to do, Reuters reported.

As the afternoon progresses, the threat escalates, and the attacks become more intense. SIFMA will give the firms feedback on how they did in a few weeks.

Though I can't shake the absurd image of hundreds of bankers and government officials running around skyscrapers trying to thwart online espionage, this is something the US is taking very seriously. Cyberattack drills are a rising trend as hackers target US firms more frequently, with larger and more sophisticated attacks. The number of attacks on U.S. companies rose 42 percent last year, according to a recent Symantec report.

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