SIFMA Completes Cybersecurity Exercise

SIFMA released the following statement from Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., SIFMA president and CEO, upon completion of SIFMA’s November 18 global industry-wide Quantum Dawn VI cybersecurity exercise.  A fact sheet with details on Quantum Dawn VI is available here.

“There is likely no greater threat to financial stability than a large-scale cyber incident.  SIFMA’s Quantum Dawn VI simulated a ransomware event, which underscores this is something the industry must prepare for just as we do for other possible crisis events.

“SIFMA and its member firms are deeply committed to regularly testing and enhancing the financial services sector’s cybersecurity resiliency and working with government partners to protect the broader economy.  Our sister trades—AFME in Europe and ASIFMA in Asia—share our commitment to cyber preparedness.  SIFMA, in its crisis coordination role, led the exercise, which included participants from SIFMA, AFME and ASIFMA member firms, as well as public sector crisis teams across the globe.

“Quantum Dawn VI enabled financial firms, central banks, regulatory authorities, trade associations, law enforcement and information sharing organizations around the world to rehearse incident response protocols, both internally and across the sector, against a broad range of ransomware attacks.  The intent of the exercise was to assess public and private sector-wide communications and information sharing mechanisms, crisis management protocols, and decision-making, as well as legal and regulatory considerations as exercise participants responded to and recovered from significant ransomware attacks targeting the financial sector.

“The exercise engaged SIFMA’s Global Directory Members which were brought together during QDV in November 2019, and also focused on identifying potential gaps in responses. It was carried out with over 900 participants from 240 public and private sector institutions, including financial firms, central banks, regulators, and law enforcement entities, across more than 20 countries around the world.

“A clear takeaway from the exercise is the importance of a robust partnership between the industry and government grounded in information sharing.  No single actor – not the government, nor any individual firm – has the resources to protect markets from cyber threats on their own, nor do cyber incidents restrict themselves to one geographic region.  That’s why the communication aspect was essential to the exercise’s success.

“SIFMA will now work with Protiviti to analyze participant feedback and produce a public after-action report with key observations and recommendations for enhancing the financial services sector’s ability to respond to a ransomware attack. Protiviti has been a great partner in helping us develop and execute this exercise and we appreciate their support.

“SIFMA also notes that the exercise underscores the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks, and the critical need for an effective allocation of cybersecurity resources at financial institutions. The financial services industry is a top target, facing tens of thousands of cyberattacks each day.  Enhanced harmonization of regulatory standards and supervision, to reduce the amount of duplicative or redundant rules, would help enable firms to devote more resources to security and better protect investors.

“Cybersecurity is truly an issue where the interests of the industry and public sector are fully aligned. SIFMA and our members are constantly working to improve cyber defenses, resiliency and recovery through massive monetary investment in technology and personnel, regular training, industry exercises, and close coordination between the financial sector and the government, including our regulators. Best practices are developed and refined regarding penetration testing, insider threats, third-party risks, and secure data storage and recovery. Lessons learned from Quantum Dawn VI will help shape these initiatives as we constantly work to get better.”

Source: SIFMA

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