Tyrie calls for national cyber centre to ensure finance is "high priority "

 
Lynsey Barber
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MP Andrew Tyrie wants more transparency from GCHQ on financial services security (Source: Getty)

An influential MP has called on the government's intelligence agencies to ensure cyber security within the financial services industry is a top priority in the wake of several high profile banking data breaches and failing legacy IT systems.

Andrew Tyrie, the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, has written to the chief executive of the National Cyber Security Centre, asking him to consider whether there should be greater focus on financial cyber threats, with a single person handed oversight within the organisation and a direct reporting line to the Treasury.

Read more: Tesco Bank fraud tars UK financial image, warns home secretary Amber Rudd

He is also seeking greater clarity on the exact powers the newly set up body has to improve the management of cyber risk within business.

“The committee has serious concerns in the cyber area: the opaque lines of accountability between the relevant authorities, particularly the regulators on the one hand and intelligence agencies on the other, and a very high degree of reliance on information from the intelligence community," said Tyrie.

“It is essential that the intelligence community gives the regulators the technical and practical support they need to do their job. This means making sure that financial cyber crime has a high priority, and is not subordinate to other work. Failure to do so would inhibit the ability of financial institutions to maintain an adequate level of protection for millions of consumers."

The NCSC is a collaboration between the Cabinet Office, surveillance agency GCHQ and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), designed to protect British business and critical infrastructure from attacks as part of the government's multi-billion pound cyber strategy.

Read more: On Her Majesty’s secret servers: GCHQ taps startups to fight cyber attacks

In October the deputy director of NCSC told business leaders that it would hire hundreds more people who will be charged of with building connections with business.

Thousands of customers were affected by what the City watchdog called an "unprecedented and serious" fraud attack in November.

Tyrie lambasted banking security in the wake of the attack, saying "we can't carry on like this" and has previously warned the regulators and businesses needed to take action to improve banking security.

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