London police chief says banks should brace themselves for cyber war

London’s head of police has warned that financial institutions in the West should brace themselves for a spate of cyber attacks from Islamic militant groups.

The Financial Times reports that Commissioner Adrian Leppard called for urgent preparatory steps to be taken ahead of an upcoming security conference in New York.

“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,” Commissioner Leppard said.

The cities of London and New York are building greater co-operation between police and prosecutors to increase security measures in the Square Mile and Wall Street, in an attempt to ward off any attacks.

According to The Register, these predictions overlook the fact that City financial institutions are already collectively testing their incident response and disaster recovery strategies, citing exercises such as Waking Shark. It purports that warnings about a ‘Cyber Pearl Harbour’ have been circulating for at least 15 years, and that Islamic groups have been using the Internet largely for propaganda and recruitment purposes.

DDoS attacks against US financial organisations such as US Bancorp, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and the Bank of America were reportedly initiated by Islamic hacktivists, motivated by the continued availability of an inflammatory video against Muslims on YouTube.

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