UK Banks to Get Real-Time Threat Alerts

The British Banker’s Association (BBA) has announced new plans which will see its members receive crime alerts from government bodies and law enforcement partners in a bid to reduce financial crime.

The BBA worked with security consultancy BAE Systems Applied Intelligence to launch the Financial Crime Alerts Service (FCAS), a new project where 12 government and law enforcement agencies will provide real-time information on the latest threats.

The intelligence submitted by these partner organizations, which include the National Crime Agency, will then be shared with participating banks via an online portal – which specific individuals inside those banks will have access to.

In a statement, BBA chief executive Anthony Brown described FCAS as a “powerful new weapon against the fraudsters, cyber-criminals and other crooks intent on stealing our customers’ money.”

“Receiving real-time alerts from such domestic and international bodies, including the National Crime Agency and 11 other government and law enforcement agencies, will be vital intelligence for the army of staff banks have already hired to combat these threats,” he added.

“This service is a shining example of how banks and government can work together to benefit all customers.”

The BBA Financial Crime Alerts Service will apparently provide warnings to banks on major cybercrime campaigns, fraud, bribery and corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing.

It will also offer “emergent, thematic and strategic reports” when it goes live in early 2015, the BBA said.

The new initiative is another sign that the banking community is finally getting the message when it comes to online and other forms of financial crime.

In June, UK financial authorities and infosecurity assurance body CREST teamed up to launch CBEST: a new testing framework to be led by the Bank of England and designed to improve banks’ resilience to advanced threats.

In addition, an existing information sharing partnership between the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and banks has already saved the latter over £100 million in fraud losses, according to the BBA.

A PwC survey a few months ago found that 70% of banking bosses said they thought cybersecurity was a key growth risk, while the Cabinet Office estimates that £700m is spent by banks annually on combatting cybercrime.

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