US Regulator Warns of ‘Armageddon-style’ Cyber Attack

The global financial system must respond to the very real threat of an ‘Armageddon’-style cyber attack according to Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS).

Speaking at a Bloomberg conference in New York, Lawsky warned that it was a “matter of time” before a major attack on the system, and major investment was need to take preventative action. The attackers were “breaking into everything” and ultimately there would be a major incident that “more systematic and problematic,” he said.

“I worry that we are going to have some sort of major cyber-event in the financial system that’s going to cause us all to shudder.”

Lawsky drew comparisons with the September 11 terrorist attack on New York’s World Trade Centre. “The failure to detect the 9/11 plot was a failure of imagination,” he said. “I worry about the same thing here, is that something will probably happen and we will look back as it and say, ‘how did we not do more?’”

He also addressed the issue of holding individuals to account for financial crime. “Just damning the entire firm is counterproductive. You make it look like the whole firm is to blame, and often the fine is picked up by shareholders.

“If you are not holding individuals to account, you are not getting the full effect of deterrence. You may be getting your pound of flesh but you are not improving the system.”

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