London-based financial businesses are participating in ‘war games’ exercises to assess the effectiveness of their cyber security systems.

Thousands of staff are being drilled with cyber attack scenarios that will see them bombarded with messages and assorted malware.

Stephen Bonner, a partner in KPMG’s Information Protection & Business Resilience team, says: ‘Regulators and companies are increasingly concerned about the threat of cyber attacks on the banking system so this is a great initiative for all involved to work collectively together to test our national defences against sophisticated attacks. This is a good opportunity to iron out any flaws now, before our cyber defences are tested in anger.’

He adds: ‘The test will shine a light on our defences, and that is helpful not just for banks but for business in general. Cyber security failures not only impact business in monetary terms but also in the loss of intellectual property and more importantly, trust.’

A recent review of the cyber security of non-financial companies reported a range of common deficiencies, such as vulnerable web servers and freely available sensitive information.

Such holes in a company’s security can be accumulated with information available from social networks and public sources, helping hackers refine their attack campaigns.

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