UK banks are spending the day under a simulated cyber attack as industry watchdog, the Financial Services Authority (FSA), tests their business continuity plans ahead of next year's Olympic Games.
More than 87 financial firms – including high-street banks Barclays, LloydsTSB and HSBS – have volunteered for the cyber war games, which kicked off at 8:00 am.
The attacks will involve simulating widespread technical disruptions, including cutting off internet access and telecom lines, as well as failures among cash machine networks.
The FSA said participants will not be given pass or fail marks. “The exercise is about firms assessing their business continuity systems and updating them where necessary,” it said in a statement.
The results of the tests are due to be published in February 2012.
For the war games to provide a robust test of financial firms' business continuity plans, the FSA would need to test how prepared they are to deal with losing confidence in their data or networks, said Henry Harrison, technical director at systems integrator BAE Systems Detica.
“While it is simple to imagine situations such as a total loss of communications, realistic scenarios should also include the loss of confidence in the integrity of data or key systems, or indeed the loss of confidence in the confidentiality of communications between different players in the system," he said.