BoE warns on rising cyber attack threat

The Bank of England said this morning that "cyber attack has continued to threaten to disrupt the financial system." Back in March, cabinet office minister Francis Maude said that (cyber) attacks are responsible for "losses to the UK economy running into the billions of pounds."

In its Financial Stability Report, the Bank states that over the past six months, "several UK banks and financial market infrastructures have experienced cyber attacks, some of which have disrupted services." It added that, whilst losses have been small, they "have revealed vulnerabilities".

If these vulnerabilities were exploited to disrupt services, then the cost to the financial system could be significant and borne by a large number of institutions.

In its June report, a quarter of respondents to the Bank's Systematic Risk Survey, which looks at potential operational risks related to financial institutions' IT, highlighted operational risk as "one of the main risks to UK financial stability". And over half of these responded cited risks from cyber attack.

In response, the Bank has said that a programme to assess, test and improve cyber resilience across core areas of the UK financial sector has been drawn up by the Treasury, relevant government agencies and financial authorities.