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SIFMA May Delay Quantum Dawn Cyber Attack Simulation

Due to increased interest from banking industry participants, SIFMA may delay its planned June 28 cyberattack exercise.

Quantum Dawn 2 -- a simulated cyberattack on big banks -- has generated so much interest from banking institutions looking to participate that the date for the drill may be postponed from June 28, says a SIFMA spokesperson. At press time SIFMA has not announced a new date.

The exercise, which may attract industry behemoths such as Bank of America, JPMorgan and Capital One Financial, will include a simulated experience that begins with the participants receiving information about what appears to be a hacker attack on fake trading and information platforms, none of which connected to the actual markets.

[For more on how the firms are approaching cybersecurity, read: The Security Holes Investment Firms Are Ignoring].

Features of the simulated attack will include either slowness in trading or invasion of viruses into the systems.

The attack will pause so companies have time to communicate to each other to find out what is going on while making decisions on whether they should slow trading down or try to avoid the threat.

The program for the mock attack, Distributed Environment for Critical Infrastructure Decision-making Exercises – Finance Sector (DECIDE-FS), has also been upgraded to simulate modern attacks, according to SIFMA. The DECIDE-FS project is part of the Department of Homeland Security's DECIDE program.

Unlike the original Quantum Dawn, which took place in 2011, Quantum Dawn 2 will not have armed gunmen attempting to gain access to a financial institution's offices or an exchange location, but participants will be in a computer simulation where viruses are aiming to disrupt trading practices.

"This will enable individual firms and the sector as a whole to exercise their response plans in order to maintain effective and orderly markets and protect clients," notes Karl Schimmeck, VP of financial services operations at SIFMA. "The industry takes cyber security very seriously and is proactively working to mitigate this threat." Zarna Patel is a staff writer for InformationWeek's Financial Services brands, which include Bank Systems & Technology, Insurance & Technology and Wall Street & Technology. She received her B.A. in English and journalism from Rutgers University College of Arts and Sciences in ... View Full Bio

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