From Data Breaches to Doomsday: What Banks Need to Know About Cybersecurity

Banks and financial institutions are understandably worried about cyberattacks. These organizations house a trove of data that hackers yearn for. Not only do they house account information (perfect for financial theft), they also hold personal information useful for identity theft.

Thankfully, cybersecurity insurance can help protect businesses against financial damages rooted in data breaches and digital attacks. But this safety net isn't the same as a defensive strategy. For that, each financial institution needs to make its own efforts to improve cybersecurity. Luckily, members of the cybersecurity industry are joining their effort to avert disaster.

Doomsday Preppers
Earlier this year, over 100 industry experts from 34 financial institutions collaborated to establish The Sheltered Harbor project. Sheltered Harbor, a not-for-profit organization, enhances the security of the retail financial industry against potential cyber threats.

This is important for two reasons. The first is that it is an encouraging sign that those specific industries are making moves to protect themselves. The second is that the project preserves usable information in the event of a cyberattack.

"The goal was to add an extra layer of protection for client data in case one of the participating banks went down due to a cyberattack so that people would still be able to access their assets, writes E Hacking News. "Sheltered Harbor makes this possible by storing customer data from each participating institution in a private, encrypted data vault  safe from alteration and deletion.

As you can see, the project protects both consumers and private institutions. Over 70 percent of U.S. retail accounts and 60 percent of brokerage accounts are represented in this initiative. A total protection of over 400 million accounts.

These are smart preparations ahead of "doomsday, a hypothetical cyberattack that could cripple the financial industry. While this term is inherently alarmist, it is not a product of misguided fear. The world has seen major international cyberattacks in the past few years including the WannaCry and NotPetya ransomware scams. Not to mention the Equifax data breach that impacted 145.5 million U.S. consumers.

These attacks served as a wakeup call to businesses everywhere. And it's reassuring to see the financial industry making moves to protect their own.

But the efforts to avoid doomsday didn't stop there. In fact, a group of Wall Street banks simulated a doomsday-like event dubbed Quantum Dawn 2 to test the industry's cybersecurity chops.

In the staged simulation, bank executives were tasked with detecting a massive cyberattack as it unfolded. The catch? Each participant only got to see one red flag "in a sea of information. Some banks might have seen plummeting stocks, others saw basic technologies fail. The goal was to prompt participants into collaborating with rivals.

"It didn't all happen at once - each attack affected firms differently, says vice president of Financial Services Operations at the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Karl Schimmeck. "Some firms would see a problem, some firms wouldn't, and some firms only see it second-hand because they're communicating with each other.

In the end, the simulation was a major success. It stressed the urgency of response and the necessity to work together for the greater good.

Ask yourself, will your company be able to handle a doomsday scenario? Remember, we are all in this together. So, let's collaborate to face down cyber threats! Visit CyberPolicy to see what cyber insurance can do for you.

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