S&P could downgrade lenders to standard and poor for cyber-security

According to a new report this week from credit rating agency Standard & Poor, lenders could have their rating lowered if they fail to protect themselves from cyber-attacks or damaging breaches. 

The issue is particularly crucial, says S&P, as banks play a key role in the world economy, making them high-value targets for attackers.

The news comes after last week's announcement of a cyber-security fund being floated on the London Stock Exchange. This new entry onto the LSE has been welcomed by members of the cyber-security industry.

Large financial organisations are faced with a daily barrage of attacks from hackers leaving no port unprobed. The threats range from hostile governments to terrorists and even company insiders. That is what has meant that the issue has come to the forefront of the banking world as now more than ever this is a huge risk for the sector when lending money.  

S&P is yet to downgrade a bank on the basis that they are more susceptible to cyber-attacks, it has said it sees cyber-security affecting credit ratings in two ways: the bank's reputation and monetary damage caused to the bank.

"…we view weak cyber-security as an emerging threat that has the potential to pose a higher risk to financial firms in the future, and possibly result in downgrades," the ratings company said.

The positive side of this is that according to S&P, most large banks already have the existing digital prowess to protect themselves online from both from the attack itself and have tools in place for early detection.