Simulated Wall Street Cybersecurity Attack to Test Preparedness

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On Thursday, July 18th 2013, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) will be carrying out Quantum Dawn 2, a simulated cybersecurity attack meant to assess preparedness.

Since the last cybersecurity simulation in 2011, the list of firms and institutions wishing to be included in this year’s attack has more than doubled, according to the SIFMA brief released today. The organizations undergoing the attack has grown to include stock exchanges, businesses, the U.S. Treasury and Department of Homeland Security, and the simulation will attempt to expose any critical weaknesses in security these firms may have. The previous exercise, that was held in November 2011, was designed to analyze the continuity of equities trading and clearing in the event of a system disruption.

The importance of cybersecurity has come to the forefront of discussions of the greatest risks posed in the financial markets. The focus of the exercise is not to mimic the act of one or two hackers attempting to gain access to a personal computer or account, but rather to simulate state-sanctioned actions targeting entire systems. Issues of cyber security became even more serious in light of last summer’s Flame, a malware that infected about 1000 computers across the world, and was so advanced that experts agreed that no singular hacker could have been it’s origin.

The simulation will be orchestrated on July 18th, and more than 50 banks will be participating.