The financial system is increasingly at risk of cyber attacks


Online attacks by hackers, or rather crackers, against financial systems are an increasing risk, to the point that the stability of the US system itself is threatened.

This is revealed by the annual report of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), which depends on the Treasury and the Federal Reserve.

Sensational cases. According to the report, despite cybersecurity barriers erected by banks and finance companies, malicious incursions represent a potential systemic danger. The document explains that last year there were innumerable problems due to raids that created large-scale theft of sensitive information.

For example, some crackers have penetrated the servers of JPMorgan Chase to steal different types of data, including those of customers. And the computer security agency Kaspersky Lab found that a group of cyber pirates had been carrying out attacks on around 100 banks around the world for years, forcing them to invest $ 1 billion to remedy.

The risks of the connected system. The greatest vulnerability, according to the document, is constituted by the interconnection of payment and securities exchange systems. "While security technologies and awareness itself are constantly growing, " the report says, "criminal activities are also growing. There is the prospect of an accident so destructive as to paralyze operations in the financial sector ".

As we have seen, interconnection is generally the weakest element in systems, such as for example aircraft. The FSOC invites financial agencies to become aware of possible increasingly sophisticated and destructive attacks and to equip themselves to cope with them. Janet Yellen, president of the Federal Reserve, added that the American system is able to deal with catastrophic events from an economic point of view such as the 2008 crisis (for which the FSOC that draws up this annual report was born in 2010), and that therefore the credit institutions could continue to operate even in conditions of prolonged recession, but that it is necessary "to promote new and higher standards for financial stability".

The armageddon. The most dangerous scenario is that of a chain paralysis, given the centrality of the banking system: "The concentration of key services in banks can create the risk of a cyber accident that affects many companies at the same time, with devastating consequences".