LONDON, June 12 Worries over hacking and other
cyber attacks has pushed aside the euro zone crisis as the top
risk for Britain's banks and they must do more to protect
themselves, a senior Bank of England official said on Wednesday.
Global cyber crime in the financial sector has become a more
pressing worry, underlined by a series of cases this year.
U.S. prosecutors last month laid out details of a crime ring
they say stole $45 million from two Middle Eastern banks by
hacking into credit card processing firms and withdrawing money
from cash machines in 27 countries.
Andrew Haldane, the BoE's director of financial stability,
met with five of Britain's top banks six months ago and four
told him that a cyber attack was their biggest threat.
It was surprising the fifth bank did not have this risk on
their list but it does now, Haldane told parliament's Treasury
"You can see why the financial sector would be a
particularly good target for someone wanting to wreak havoc
through the cyber route," he added.
"Understanding and management of this risk was still at a
somewhat early stage," Haldane said.
Earlier meetings with bank chiefs had pointed to the "usual
suspects" of the euro zone crisis or a slump in the economy at
the top risk, Haldane said.
The focus on credit, market and liquidity risk over the past
five years may have distracted attention from operational, and
in particular cyber risks, at banks or in infrastructure like
payment systems, Haldane said.
Haldane was being quizzed by lawmakers on his reappointment
to the BoE's Financial Policy Committee (FPC)
"I hope we can do more on this at the FPC as part of wider
government initiatives," Haldane said.