Police warn of Isis cyber attacks on city banks


Financial institutions must do more to prevent Islamic fundamentalist attacking their networks, the head of the City of London police has said.

Commissioner Adrian Leppard called on firms to implement protective measures against cyber attacks, singling out Isis as a potential threat.

At a security conference held in New York, Leppard told the FT: "[There] could be a very serious impact to the financial institutions of the world through a cyber attack and I think it's a very strong likelihood that it will happen one day in the future, which is why we've got to push back and take action now before it happens."

Leppard made the remarks as the City of London Police and the New York District Attorney's Office move to deploy permanent staff in each other's offices in a bid to boost cyber defences in both financial centres.

He said the biggest challenge for law enforcement was in establishing the true scale of cybercrime, given that financial institutions very rarely talk about successful attacks on their infrastructure in order to maintain their reputations and calm customer fears.

The City of London police is working with the banks on an intelligence sharing centre, which will start meeting next year, but Leppard said that gaining access to information on bank cyber attacks would not be easy.

"Will we ever get the financial institutions to report to us? I think it's going to be difficult and I think we are going to have to think about how do we encourage that," he said.

He added that one option would be to have laws in place that would require firms to defend themselves against cyber attacks or face prosecution.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.