BoE-backed IT resilience testing project opened to FS firms of all sizes

A Bank of England (BoE) backed-project set to test the IT resilience of the UK’s financial services (FS) sector has now been opened to FS firms of all sizes, according to sources reported by the Financial Times.

The initiative will be run by Bristol-based cybersecurity firm Immersive Labs and will be overseen by the Cross Market Operational Resilience Group according to the sources, an industry body co-chaired by the BoE and industry group UK Finance.

Conducted remotely, the sources said that the testing will see senior executives at FS firms participate in “war games” that will test their reactions against issues such as being unable to access their data, communicate with their staff, or maintain operational continuity.

Participation had originally been targeted at 150 companies but has now been opened to firms with smaller headcounts including insurers and asset managers.

Participating organisations will be able to see how they handled the “war games” compared to the other organisations according to the sources, though the Bank of England will not be able to access these results.

The BOE has taken an increasingly hard line on ensuring the IT resilience of the financial sector in recent months; the central bank said in a July report that increasing reliance on a small number of cloud service providers (CSPs) could “increase financial stability risks” without greater regulatory oversight.

Banks' IT infrastructures have remained a popular target for successful cyberattacks. Fiducia & GAD IT, a German company that provides IT services to many of the nation’s co-operative banks was hit by a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) in June this year.

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