UK banks and insurers team up to fight cyber-crime

News by Rene Millman

New body will oversee efforts to combat cyber-criminals. The UK's biggest insurers and banks have teamed up to create a new organisation to defend the country's financial infrastructure against cyber-attacks.

The UK’s biggest insurers and banks have teamed up to create a new organisation to defend the country’s financial infrastructure against cyber-attacks.

Called the Financial Sector Cyber Collaboration Centre, the organisation is backed by several banks, insurers and securities exchanges. The body is the brainchild of UK Finance, an amalgamation of six financial trade institutions.

The centre will also be working with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and National Crime Agency (NCA).

In a speech given at UK Finance’s second annual industry dinner in London, its chairman Bob Wigley, said that the serious daily reality of cyber-attack from organised and sophisticated criminals and state actors is "real and never far from the headlines".

"That’s why UK Finance is working closely with our members, the Bank of England, GCHQ and the National Cyber Security Centre to address this clear and present danger," he said.

He said that UK Finance was mandated to create a new Financial Services Cyber Collaboration Centre, capable of addressing cyber-threats as they emerge in a "faster, more coordinated and effective way".

UK Finance chief executive Stephen Jones said in a following speech that the UK has the opportunity to be world leading, ensuring that it is the safest place in and from which to conduct financial services business.

"Cyber is like NATO – an attack on one is an attack on all. Let’s redouble our efforts to collaborate, not compete, in this critical area and support the development of the Financial Sector Cyber Collaboration Centre," he said.

In a blog post, Ian Burgess, principal of Technology and Digital Policy Delivery at UK Finance, said that one way in which to counter the threat that financial institutions face and reduce the likelihood of a successful cyber-attack is through sharing cyber-intelligence with other institutions. 

"Philosophically the finance sector needs to realise that ‘a rising tide lifts all ships’ and that cyber-security should not be seen as a competitive advantage between companies – the finance sector can only be as strong as its weakest link in this regard," he said.

Nigel Hawthorn, data privacy expert for cloud security at McAfee, told SC Media UK that the planned launch of the Financial Sector Cyber Collaboration Centre is a step in the right direction when it comes to making sure that the UK is a safe environment to live, work and invest in today.

"Joint initiatives and partnerships are key to combatting today’s rapidly evolving threat landscape," he said.

"From pseudo-ransomware to stealthy attacks via the cloud, cyber-criminals are constantly finding new, sophisticated attack methods as well as continuing to take advantage of attack vectors which have worked for them in the past. If the industry does not share cyber-threat intelligence and work together, we will be giving cyber-criminals the upper hand. Collaboration will be vital for organisations to ensure they have up-to-date threat intelligence and the right technology to effectively protect data, detect threats and rapidly correct targeted systems."

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