WALL STREET will host a simulated cyber war next week to prepare banks, brokerages and exchanges for a large scale cyber attack.
With a name reminiscent of a video game from the '90s, the cyber exercise called Quantum Dawn 2 will take part in the financial district of New York from 9am to 2:30pm on 28 June.
Organised by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), Quantum Dawn 2 will show participants unresponsive systems and flashes of puzzling information in what will appear to be a hacking attack on simulated trading and information systems.
The participants will include several banks including Citigroup and Bank of America, as well as the US Treasury and Homeland Security departments, the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Each participating organisation will see simulated latency in their trading systems and slowdowns caused by simulations of malware attacks trying to penetrate their systems.
The fake cyber attack will be a sequel to a 2011 programme hosted the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council (FSSCC) that was unsurprisingly named "Quantum Dawn".
Not only did the first exercise involve a cyber attack and armed gunmen running around Lower Manhattan trying to gain entry to the exchanges, but it "exercised risk practices across equities clearing and trading processes in response to infrastructure disruption".
An evalution of Quantum Dawn suggests that the companies participating weren't used to coordinating with each other during incidents, and that it was difficult to make decisions in the fast-moving trading environment.
SIFMA hopes the sequel will create a "fog of war" around the proceedings allowing each participating firm to test its internal coordination mechanisms and prepare its business for such an event.
The cyber war simulation comes over a year after F-Secure chief security researcher Mikko Hypponen warned that we are entering a cyber warfare revolution and that governments will soon attempt to outdo each other based on their computer weapons' capabilities.
Hypponen also predicted that it won't be long before the world sees its first cyber arms race, including cyber war games to show how strong countries are and boasts about cyber war skills to make other countries pay attention.
The World Economic Forum has rated cyber attacks as the fourth most likely risk to occur over the next 10 years. µ