Simulated Cyberattack on Global Financial Industry: Hypothetical Banking Impact Is Massive


A 10-country simulated cyber attack orchestrated by “sophisticated” actors on the global financial industry resulted in paralyzed banking systems, havoc in the markets and governments pressed to clarify the impact.

Israel hosted what its Finance Ministry called a “war game” that also included treasury officials from the United States, Austria, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and representatives from the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Bank of International Settlements, Reuters reported.

Collective Strength Simulated Cyberattack: Background and Learnings

The 10-day long drill--officially called “Collective Strength” because its point was to emphasize the necessity of international coordination and cooperation to counter cyber attackers--had been planned over the past year. It spanned cyber offensives on global foreign exchange and bond markets, liquidity, integrity of data and transactions between importers and exporters, the report said.

The exercise imitated a variety of scenarios, with sensitive data posted on the dark web and widespread disinformation reports of chaos on global markets and a run on banks. "The banks are appealing for emergency liquidity assistance in a multitude of currencies to put a halt to the chaos as counterparties withdraw their funds and limit access to liquidity, leaving the banks in disarray and ruin," the narrator of the staged attacks said, according to Reuters.

The participating treasury officials considered a number of multilateral policies to respond to the crisis, including a coordinated bank holiday, debt repayment grace periods and other options.

“The unique and groundbreaking exercise held today showed the importance of coordinated global action by governments together with central banks in the face of financial cyber threats,” Shira Greenberg, Israel Finance Ministry’s chief economist, told the Times of Israel.

Simulated Cyberattacks: MSP Software Tabletop Exercises

Meanwhile, MSP software companies have been hosting tabletop exercises -- aka simulated cyberattacks -- within their own businesses. The simulations typically involve key stakeholders -- executives, board members, business unit heads, response pros, etc. -- who together navigate the simulated attack and response.

One example: N-able CEO John Pagliuca, in an interview with ChannelE2E, described this tabletop exercise that the MSP software company hosted in October 2021.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.