War games: Bank of England to test financial services sector's resilience to cyber attacks

Michael Searles
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Around 40 firms will be involved in today's exercise (Source: Getty)

The Bank of England will today test the financial industry's ability to withstand a major cyber attack on the UK.

Leading banks will be among around 40 firms that will partake in the exercise, aimed at ensuring firms are able to meet certain recovery requirements in the wake of a cyber-attack.

"This exercise forms a vital part of the sector wide biennial process that seeks to ensure the industry is prepared for – and can respond effectively to – any major disruption stemming from a cyber incident, protecting the financial system on which the public relies," a Bank of England statement read.

"The exercise will help authorities and firms identify improvements to our collective response arrangements, improving the resilience of the sector as a whole."

The Bank is conducting the so-called war-gaming exercise in partnership with the Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority as they try to assess how banks can better withstand digital attacks.

It comes in the wake of concerns that the industry is not collectively or sufficiently equipped to deal with such a challenge, should it happen.

Fears have previously been expressed that disruption to one bank could have a knock on effect, which would spread to other banks, as well as having a direct impact on the economy if customers cannot pay for goods or services.