Wall Street To Stage Cyber War Game

By | June 17, 2013

Posted in: Network Security Trends

As concern mounts over cyber warfare between nations, major Wall Street firms will take part later this month in a simulated network disruption exercise aimed at testing their ability to respond to a widespread attack.

The exercise, Quantum Dawn 2, has been organized by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (Sifma) as a follow-up to a previous exercise staged in November 2011.

Sifma said on its website that the new exercise on June 28 – QD2 in Sifma shorthand – would “test incident response, resolution and coordination processes for the financial services sector and individual member firms to a Street-wide cyber attack.”

The association said the value of the first exercise in 2011, hosted by the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council (FSSCC),  was clear to participants. “[It] has since been reinforced by operational disruptions and incidents involving firms in markets both in the U.S. and overseas.”

Both Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase were among the victims of online attacks last year.
“Building on the success of this exercise and the increasing threat posed to the sector by a coordinated, large scale cyber attack we have decided to organize and coordinate a second generation cyber disruption exercise,” Sifma said.

“This exercise will build on the lessons learned from the previous exercise... We expect this exercise to improve the readiness of sector as a whole to respond to a Street-wide cyber attack and allow each participating firm to test their internal coordination mechanisms and processes to maintain business resiliency.”

Sifma said QD2 would test the second generation version of DECIDE-FS (Distributed Environment for Critical Infrastructure Decision-making Exercises – Finance Sector) software developed by Cyber Strategies.

The FSSCC said Quantum Dawn would focus on how a cyber attack could impact on “the functioning of the equity markets (trading, clearance and settlement processes) and how firms communicate to mitigate and address the impacts. Individual firm and sector incident response plans will be tested with the goal of highlighting possible gaps and keeping the sector ahead of the curve in preparing for this type of an event.”

In a planning document for the exercise, Sifma said QD2 would simulate events over several trading days and involve up to 60 institutions, including Schwab, Citi, HSBC, BAML and Raymond James.

It said the Department of Homeland Security, the Securities Exchange Commission and the Treasury were also expected to participate.

Sifma said “war game” would simulate the loss of critical infrastructure within the financial services industry and goals included the improvement of coordination and decision-making processes – such as if and when to close or open markets in the event of a cyber attack.

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