Waking Shark to test London's cyber-preparedness

8 November 2013
By Tereza Pultarova
Mobile version
Share |
The Bank of England was said to be the main coordinator of next week's massive fake cyber-attack on London's financial sector

The Bank of England was said to be the main coordinator of next week's massive fake cyber-attack on London's financial sector

Financial companies in the UK’s capital will be put through a war game scenario next week to test how well they can handle an extensive cyber-attack, Reuters has reported.  

In one of the largest exercises of its kind in the world, firms will be bombarded with a series of announcements and scenarios, imitating a major attack on computer systems. Dubbed the Waking Shark II, the test will try to assess how much a major cyber-attack  would disrupt stock exchanges and unfold on social media.

Co-ordinated from a single room housing regulators, government officials and staff from banks and other financial firms, the exercises will resemble a similar operation conducted two years ago. As well as in the previous case, the Bank of England, the Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority will be the main coordinators of the event.

Simulations are likely to include how banks ensure the availability of cash from ATM machines or deal with a liquidity squeeze in the wholesale market and how well firms communicate and coordinate with authorities and each other.

According to one of the sources, there will be a particular focus on investment banking operations.

Regulators and firms are growing increasingly concerned about the threat of cyber-crime to the banking system, including the impact of coordinated online assaults or hacking attacks on specific banks. Recently, the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee has urged the banks to strengthen their cyber-defence.

British police arrested eight people in September after a cyber-attack on the computer system of a branch of Barclays, just a week after 12 men were arrested for allegedly planning to steal millions of pounds from a Santander UK branch with a similar remote device.

Another global financial capital - New York – already performed a similar exercise, named Quantum Dawn 2, several months ago.

The first test of this kind in London was conducted in 2011 and consisted of a series of concerted cyber-attacks on the financial sector, disrupting wholesale and retail payments and online services. The exercise included more than 3,500 people and eighty-seven firms, hedge funds, asset managers and brokers, as well as banks, insurers and exchanges. 

Firms were asked to assume the test was carried out on the busiest day of the London 2012 Olympic Games, when many staff would not be in the office.

Next week's test will be the seventh market-wide exercise carried out by UK authorities to test the resilience of the financial industry to a variety of potential shocks.

Past events have included simulated storms, flooding and transport chaos in 2009 and a flu pandemic in 2006.

A report on the outcome of the test will be released late this year or early in 2014, one of the sources said

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1605

"We visit Barcelona, one of the smartest cities in the world, to find out what makes it so special. What does it look like and what is the future?"

E&T jobs

  • Senior Development Engineer, Electronics

    Premium job

    Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation
    • Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire
    • Competitive

    We are an innovative, robust and fast growing business, whose main focus is to deliver continues improvement to existing products and offer new sol..

    • Recruiter: Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation

    Apply for this job

  • Smart Grid Research Engineer

    Premium job

    University of Strathclyde
    • Cumbernauld, Glasgow
    • Grade: 6/7* £26,537 - £37,768*

    Work as part of a growing dynamic team on a wide range of technical projects with particular emphasis on experimental validation and testing

    • Recruiter: University of Strathclyde

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Asset Specialist

    Affinity Water
    • Hatfield, Hertfordshire

    Responsible for updating and writing electrical engineering standards, approved codes of practice and safe systems of work

    • Recruiter: Affinity Water

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Electronics Engineer

    York Instruments
    • York, North Yorkshire

    Senior electronics engineer to work as part of a team developing an MEG imaging system; working with the engineering team and external contractors.

    • Recruiter: York Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Manufacturing Engineer - Circuit Card Assembly

    • Lostock Junction
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What’s the opportunity?   Manufacturing UK is an integral part of the Operations Directorate whose principal mission is to ensure that MBDA’s deliverable commitments are met...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • High Voltage Engineer

    Premium job

    Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment
    • Great Dunmow, Essex

    This High Voltage Engineer will provide design leadership for high voltage cable assemblies up to one megavolt.

    • Recruiter: Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment

    Apply for this job

  • Team Leader - Flank Arrays

    BAE Systems
    • Barrow-In-Furness, Cumbria, England
    • Negotiable

    Team Leader - Flank Arrays Would you like to work in a unique role within the construction of the Astute Class submarines? We currently have a vacancy for a Team Leader - Flank Arrays at our site in Barrow-in-Furness. As a Team Leader - Flank Arrays, you

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Electronics and Software Engineer

    Copley Scientific Ltd
    • Nottingham
    • circa £35,000 per annum + bonus

    Develop new test equipment for the pharmaceutical industry. Good opportunities to grow and develop. Successful family-owned and managed business.

    • Recruiter: Copley Scientific Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Intelligent Transport Systems Engineer - Highways Technology

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Birmingham, West Midlands

    Our transport technology team in Birmingham is currently growing a highly skilled and customer-focused team to...

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Analogue Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)
    • Uppsala (Stad) (SE)

    The Swedish Institute of Space Institute (IRF) in Uppsala search for an analogue electronics engineer.

    • Recruiter: Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶


Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T