At a House Capital Markets Subcommittee hearing last week oncyber-threats to the capital markets, lawmakers heard a consistentmessage from the industry collaboration and information sharingbetween the federal government and financial institutions must beenhanced to more effectively manage and mitigate cyber risk today.A critical step in that process involves restarting a successfulbut now-defunct pilot program that helped the industry thwart actsof cyber espionage. This particular type of cyber-crime, if left unchecked, representsa significant danger to the long-term national and economicsecurity of the United States or any nation targeted for attack.Cyber espionage is the 21st century version of the spy vs. spy activity that has occurred for millennia. However, it has expandedin recent years beyond attempts to steal national secrets to nowinclude cyber theft of proprietary information from corporations orgovernments to gain an economic and competitive advantage over thecommercial interests of that country. Aluminium Composite Panels
The Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security(DHS) took steps to harden the sector s defenses against thesecrimes in 2010 by establishing the Government Information SharingFramework (GISF). It allowed for the sharing of advanced threat andattack data between the federal government and 16 financialservices firms that were deemed capable of protecting highlysensitive information. The program was expanded over time toinclude the sharing of classified technical and analytical data onthreat identification and mitigation techniques. Under the GISF program, pilot participants gained access to atreasure trove of actionable information to search for similarthreat activity in their own networks as well as contextualinformation to better understand the risk implications of variousthreats. Mirror Finish Aluminum Sheet Manufacturer
In addition, firms could utilize previously unavailablequantifiable information to adjust assessments of cyber espionage. Information sharing like that which occurred under the GISF programrepresented a critical line of defense in protecting against cyberespionage. The program drove innovative new initiatives in theindustry and helped reshape the sector s approach to assessingcyber espionage risks while prompting pilot firms, including my ownorganization, to revise best practices for managing threatinformation. It also spurred financial institutions to makesignificant additional investments in threat mitigation anddetection capabilities that otherwise could not have been easilyjustified due to the lack of understanding of the risk to thesector. Aluminium Coils Manufacturer
Unfortunately, the program was in effect terminated in December2011, cutting off the flow of valuable information at a time whenthreats to the sector are increasing. Over the past six months,several financial organizations have experienced threat activityfrom cyber-criminals first identified to the industry through GISFreporting. It was heartening that several members of the Committee expressedinterest in exploring ways to restart the program as well asexpanding it to include a broader group of financial institutionsto ensure the reach and impact of this type of reporting couldscale to the depth and breadth of the financial sector. As the sophistication and technological means of cyber-criminalsincrease, the financial industry and government need to move from astatic, one-size-fits-all framework to a risk-based one thatincorporates the dynamic nature of the threat landscape, theindividual firms in the financial sector and the global nature ofthe capital markets.
While the public and private sectors have taken important stepsforward in recent years to enhance collaboration, a greater degreeof trust and information sharing is needed to ensure that allavailable resources are working in concert to protect and defendthe financial sector from cyber-attack. There is already muchprogress to build on in this area, starting foremost withrestarting and expanding the GISF program.