March 13, 2013

Outspoken JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon will join President Obama and other chief executives for a discussion on cyber threats, according to CNBC.

The group is expected to focus on measures against China, according to James Lewis, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who advises Congress and the Obama administration on cybersecurity.

Obama, Dimon and other leaders will meet in the White House Situation Room. The meeting will also focus on efforts to get C-level executives to take cyber threats seriously, Lewis told CNBC. "It's not the end of the world, it's not 'death by a thousand cuts,' but it's a big drain on the economy,” he said.

The issue is, or should be, of particularly concern to the financial services industry given the rising number of hack attacks against banks in recent months.

Cyber crimes continue to be hugely costly. The Ponemon Institute recently revealed that the annual cost of cyber crime across 56 companies it surveyed in various sectors was $8.9 million per year, with a range of $1.4m to $46m.

Given the number of services that financial companies and other organizations now host on the cloud and away from localized servers, security depends on the provider, Lewis underlined in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Wednesday.

"If you have a good cloud contract and it's a company that's paying attention to security, you'll be better off. If it is a company that doesn't pay attention to security or hasn't figured it out, you'll be in about the same position you are now."

Still, firms who perhaps complacently believe they are well equipped to deal with cyber attacks should note that 90 percent of successful hack attacks require only the most basic techniques, according to Lewis.

"Espionage, crime, that's easy. Physical destruction still turns out to be hard," Lewis said. "But people are developing the skills, people are developing the tools. If we stay on the path we are on now, we will see those attacks and that is why the president is meeting with people."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melanie Rodier has worked as a print and broadcast journalist for over 10 years, covering business and finance, general news, and film trade news. Prior to joining Wall Street & Technology in ...