EU Considers Stress Test for All Banks Against Cyber Attacks

Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe / Rex Features
Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe / Rex Features

According to Reuters, the European Union is considering testing banks’ defenses against cyber attacks, EU officials and sources said, as concerns grow about the industry’s vulnerability to hacking.

The consideration for a stress test is speculated to have been prompted by the recent cyber attack on Lloyds, where Britain’s largest mortgage lender was hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Jan. 11, which carried on for two days, according to the source.

The disruption, which involved bombarding the websites with huge volumes of traffic from multiple systems so they overload a server, left some customers temporarily unable to use services such as checking their balance or sending payments.

A European Commission source told Reuters it is studying whether EU-wide tests would help step up security. They would be in addition to controls already carried out in Britain and other EU states by national authorities.

Details are expected within six months and the tests could happen next year.

Cyber attacks against banks have increased in numbers and sophistication in recent years, with criminals finding new ways to target digital infrastructure that the European Banking Authority (EBA) has called “rigid and outdated”.

Banks “are struggling to demonstrate their ability to cope with the rising threat of intruders gaining unauthorised access to their critical systems and data,” an EBA report warned in December. The EBA is in charge of stress-testing the eurozone’s banks.


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