K.S. Rajan (23 Nov 2011)
"cyber war games"

Very serious cyber war games because of the forthcoming London Olympics!

From today's FT, FYI,

November 21, 2011 10:20 pm

War game tests City resilience to cyberattack

By Brooke Masters, Chief Regulation Correspondent
What would happen to the City if it were hit by a cyberattack in the middle of the Olympics?
On Tuesday, thousands of people at 87 of London’s biggest banks, exchanges and other institutions are going to try to find out.
Led by the Financial Services Authority, they will be engaging in a war game that envisions two simultaneous problems: widespread travel disruptions and a major cyberattack. Starting at 8am, the FSA will send out bulletins explaining what has gone wrong and teams at each institution will try to respond. The scenarios could include a complete shutdown of the London Underground to the failure of the network of cash machines or a combination of the two.
Some banks have put as many as 70 people on alert, while smaller institutions are devoting only a handful to the FSA’s sixth “marketwide exercise”. The last two exercises, in 2006 and 2009, focused on a flu pandemic and severe weather disruptions respectively. This year’s version is tentatively pegged to market conditions on August 3, 2012, smack in the middle of London’s hosting of the Olympic games.
The FSA said: “The marketwide exercise is carried out to assess and improve the resilience of the financial services sector, during a major operational disruption and is an important part of planning for major disruptions. There are no ‘passes’ or ‘fails’ – the exercise is about firms assessing their business continuity systems and updating them where necessary and the authorities identifying areas for further attention.”
The FSA war games, which are run jointly with the Bank of England and the Treasury, are among the largest of any financial sector in the world, with more than 5,000 participants in 2008. They are designed to test business continuity plans at British financial institutions as well as the London outposts of large global firms.
While recent FSA war games focus on external disruptions, UK regulators have also run separate exercises looking at financial market woes. A 2004 version envisioned the withdrawal of foreign funding from banks like Northern Rock, a scenario that came uncomfortably close to predicting real events three years later.
The firms’ performances on the day and responses to a series of questionnaires over the next two weeks will be compiled into a report in January that will summarise the results and suggest changes that can be made to improve resilience. Previous war games have led to efforts to improve remote access for key bank employees as well as the gathering of more information on employee routes to work so firms have a better sense of who the absentees are likely to be.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2011.