Banks to be subjected to ‘cyber stress tests’

Financial services companies will be subject to “cyber stress tests” to establish whether they would be able to recover in the event of a major breach, the Bank of England (BoE) said yesterday.

The BoE is establishing new standards for how long a bank’s ability to deliver key services, such as providing payments, would take to recover, describing the period as the “impact tolerance” and said its goal was to mitigate “systematic risk” to the financial system.

Working alongside the National Cyber Security Centre, the BoE plans to test financial services firms’ abilities to recover in the event of a major cyber-attack, describing the tests as “severe but plausible”. Firms subject to stress testing will be required to demonstrate their ability to meet the standards for “impact tolerance”.

Where firms fail these tests, they will have to agree remedial action plans to improve their ability to manage and recover from the situation, should they encounter them in the future.

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