The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association participated this week in a global exercise simulating an extreme cybersecurity scenario that could hit the financial services industry. The Quantum Dawn V exercise, as it’s called, allowed SIFMA and its member firms, as well as other private and public entities around the world to practice how they respond to such an event and test response protocols and procedures.
The goal of the Quantum Dawn exercise series, which started in 2011, is to make sure financial services firms improve their coordination with industry and government partners and maintain smooth equity market operations in the event of a cyber-attack. Over 600 people from over 180 financial institutions and government agencies participated in it this week. It was a “closed loop” simulation, meaning no real-world systems were impacted.
This year’s scenario had a very robust global component, encouraging cross-jurisdiction communication and coordination, with SIFMA leading the exercise and sister trade associations AFME in Europe and ASIFMA in Asia supporting the effort. Protiviti provided consulting.
“A clear takeaway from the exercise is the importance of a robust partnership between the industry and government grounded in information sharing,” said Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., SIFMA president and CEO. “No single actor—not the government, nor any individual firm—has the resources to protect markets from cyber threats on their own, nor do cyber incidents restrict themselves to one geographic region. That’s why the communication aspect was essential to the exercise’s success.”
SIFMA will produce an after-action report with observations and recommendations for improving the industry’s response to such cyber attacks.