Banks get cyber attack early warning system

The British Bankers' Association has commissioned a system that will give banks early warning of cyber threats

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) has commissioned BAE Systems Applied Intelligence to create a system that will give banks early warning of cyber threats.

The Financial Crime Alerts Service (FCAS) system will allow 12 government and law enforcement agencies, including the National Crime Agency (NCA), to make banks aware of potential threats as early as possible.

Using real-time intelligence from 12 partner agencies and government bodies, FCAS – which will go live in early 2015 – will share this information with the relevant experts to help them tackle cyber crime, fraud, financial crime and other violations.

This project follows work between banks and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau that has prevented more than £100m of fraud losses through information sharing.

As well as cyber and e-crime, FCAS will include warnings about terrorist financing, money laundering, bribery, corruption, fraud and other threats.

BBA CEO Anthony Browne said the alerts system is a powerful weapon against fraudsters, cyber criminals and other crooks intent on stealing customers’ money. 

“Receiving real-time alerts from domestic and international bodies will be vital intelligence for the army of staff banks have already hired to combat these threats.

“It's an example of how banks and government can work together to benefit all customers,” he said.

Donald Toon, director of the economic crime command at the NCA, said collaboration between law enforcement and the private sector is key to reducing the impact of economic crime. 

“Alerts to the industry are a key part of this and I welcome the BBA’s work in this area,” he said.

According to the Bank of England, a quarter of UK banks see operational risk as one of the main threats to UK financial stability, and more than half of these banks consider cyber attacks as a threat.

In its November 2013 Financial Stability Report, which looked at the second half of 2013, the Bank of England revealed more than half of the 25% of banks that perceive operational risk as a threat deem cyber attacks as a major risk. 

This compares with the first half of 2013, when around 23% of banks saw operational risk as a threat and only 6% cited cyber attacks.

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