As the Bank of England publishes the findings of its Waking Shark II exercise, which was designed to test how well financial firms handle a major cyber attack, KPMG’s Stephen Bonner warns that organisations will reduce the chances of successfully defending themselves, if they continue to act in isolation.
Bonner, a partner in KPMG’s Information Protection and Business Resilience team, says: “Fear of damaged reputations or stuttering share prices are major factors behind many organisations’ decision to keep a low profile when their cyber defences have been breached. But the days of isolationist thinking have long since disappeared, as an attack on one institution can lead to the exposure of commercially sensitive details for another.
“Organisations may like to think of themselves as impenetrable islands, but the reality is that, with so much data stored – and so many relationships managed - online, they are bridged together and only by standing as one can they avoid being breached. When anyone is under attack it’s always too easy to get caught in the moment and focus on self defence, but the onus must be on collaboration. Rather than hide when things go wrong, they should inform those that need to know – doing so will put attackers on the back foot and ensure partners and suppliers can take the necessary steps to ensure waking sharks are put to sleep.
“The fact is that the rising number of attacks shows that cyber vulnerabilities must be taken seriously. We’ve seen requests for help more than doubling in the past 12 months suggesting that the recognition is there, but awareness doesn’t equal resolution. Waking Shark II has shone a welcome light on current vulnerabilities, but that doesn’t mean it is safe to ‘get back in the water’. Hackers see each barrier as a challenge to be beaten, meaning that constant vigilance and testing is vital if financial organisations are to remain secure.”
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Notes to Editors:
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 11,500 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2013. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 155,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.