IMF EXCLUSIVE, 10 countries simulate cyberattack on global financial system

JERUSALEM, Dec.9 (Reuters) – Israel on Thursday conducted a simulation in 10 countries of a major cyberattack on the global financial system with the aim of increasing cooperation that could help minimize potential damage to financial markets and banks.

The simulated “war game,” as Israel’s finance ministry called it and planned it over the past year, evolved over 10 days, with sensitive data emerging on the Dark Web. The simulation also used false information which, in the scenario, caused chaos in the world markets and a rush on the banks.

The simulation – likely caused by what officials called “sophisticated” players – featured several types of attacks that impacted global forex and bond markets, liquidity, data integrity, and transactions between. importers and exporters.

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“These events are wreaking havoc on financial markets,” said a narrator of a film shown to participants as part of the simulation and seen by Reuters.

Israeli government officials have said that such threats are possible as a result of the many high-profile cyber attacks against large corporations, and that the only way to limit the damage is through global cooperation, as current cybersecurity is not always enough. strong.

“The attackers are 10 steps ahead of the defender,” Micha Weis, head of financial cybersecurity at Israel’s finance ministry, told Reuters.

Participants in the initiative, called “Collective Force”, included officials from the Treasury of Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Thailand, as well as representatives of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Bank for International Settlements.

The narrator of the film in the simulation said governments were under pressure to clarify the impact of the attack, which was crippling the global financial system.

“Banks are calling for emergency liquidity aid in a multitude of currencies to end the chaos as counterparties withdraw their funds and limit access to liquidity, leaving banks in disarray and ruin,” said the narrator.

Participants discussed multilateral policies to respond to the crisis, including a coordinated public holiday, grace periods for debt repayment, SWAP / REPO agreements, and coordinated decoupling of major currencies.

Rahav Shalom-Revivo, head of Israel’s financial cyber commitments, said international collaboration between finance ministries and international organizations “is essential for the resilience of the financial ecosystem.”

The simulation was originally scheduled to take place at the Dubai World Expo, but was moved to Jerusalem due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19, with officials participating by video conference.

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Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Jane Merriman and Lisa Shumaker

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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