Over 600 participants from 180 financial institutions and government agencies across the globe participated in a cybersecurity simulation to test their responses to a wave of ransomware attacks on the financial sector, marking the first time the annual Quantum Dawn programme has moved across borders.
Participating entities joining the closed loop simulation came from Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, and the US and included securities firms, banks, asset managers, FS-ISAC, and financial market infrastructure providers of all sizes.
Kenneth Bentsen, Sifma president and CEO says: “Quantum Dawn V enabled key public and private bodies around the globe to practice coordination and to exercise incident response protocols, both internally, and externally, to maintain smooth functioning of the financial markets when faced with a series of sector-wide global cyberattacks.”
The tests centred around a fictional ransomware attack on a too-big-to-fail bank in the US, before moving to take down a similar-sized institution in Asia and the UK.
Organisations participated from their own locations to further enhance the realism of the simulation and make use of real-world communication systems like email and phone.
The results showed that no single actor – not the federal government, nor any individual firm – has the resources to protect markets from cyber threats on their own, says Bentsen.
“Sifma also notes that the exercise underscores the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks, and the critical need for an effective allocation of cybersecurity resources at financial institutions,” he adds. “The financial services industry is a top target, facing tens of thousands of cyberattacks each day. Enhanced harmonization of regulatory standards and supervision, to reduce the amount of duplicative or redundant rules, would help enable firms to devote more resources to security and better protect investors.”