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City of London Police in Square Mile Cyber Terror Attack Warning

City of London police chief Adrian Leppard has warned that not enough is being done to prevent a potentially critical cyber attack by Islamic terrorists on the Square Mile.

The commissioner claimed ahead of a joint conference with the New York District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday that there’s a “very strong likelihood” that such an attack will be launched.

“We look at terrorism and you think . . . if global trading stopped that would have an enormous impact on western society, global society . . . at the heart of capitalism,” he told the Financial Times.

“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 apparently claimed that all of the world’s major stock markets had been affected by cyber incidents over the past decade, adding that major banks were hiding the true scale of attacks on their systems to avoid alarming customers.

Bribery Act style legislation could be introduced in the UK to force firms to put better mechanisms in place to defend against data breaches and online fraud or face prosecution, the report said.

Leppard was in Manhattan this week to build closer ties with the New York district attorney ahead of a new joint effort to combat the threat of cyber attack on two of the world’s biggest financial centers. These efforts will apparently see permanent staff from each institution deployed in the other.

His comments echoed those of New York State Department of Financial Services chief, Benjamin Lawsky, who warned in September that deficiencies in the financial system could lead to “an Armageddon-type cyber event.”

Stephen Bonner, partner in KPMG’s cyber security practice, argued that just because a cyber terrorist attack hasn’t happened yet and seems far fetched, doesn’t mean organizations shouldn’t start preparing for the worst case scenario by thinking the unthinkable.

“The UK government has made progress in developing and implementing its national cyber security strategy, but business needs to play its part,” he added.

“More information about threats is shared than ever before but it’s still not enough. Questions remain about whether organisations really understand how reliant they are on each other. Until these are answered, can we really say we are strong together?”

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