City of London Police chief warns of city cyber terror attack

The Commissioner of the City of London Police, Adrian Leppard, has warned that there is a “very strong likelihood” of an Islamic State cyber attack on the Square Mile’s financial institutions and that not enough is being done to prepare for it.

Leppard was at a cyber security conference in Manhattan to build closer ties between the City of London Police and New York’s District Attorney’s Office in order to combat cyber attacks on the financial centres of the two cities. It was announced that, from 2015, some staff from each institution will permanently be deployed in the other.

“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 told the Financial Times.

Leppard also claimed that all of the world’s major stock markets had been hit by cyber incidents in the last ten years (“Nasdaq, London Stock Exchange, all of them”), and that major banks were hiding the true scale of the cyber attacks to protect their reputations and avoid worrying their customers.

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

Benjamin Lawsky, head of the New York Department of Financial Services, also warned in September that “an Armageddon-type cyber event” was entirely plausible.

All organisations – not just financial institutions – that are serious about their information security should implement an information security management system (ISMS), as described in the international best-practice standard ISO 27001. An ISMS provides a holistic approach to information security that encompasses people, processes and technology. Click here to find out more >>