US watchdog begins cybersecurity probes

US watchdog begins cybersecurity probes

The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has commenced a pilot programme at 500 US community banks to assess their readiness to fend of cyber-attacks.

The initiative follows a presentation last month to approximately 5000 chief executive officers and senior managers from community financial institutions, intended to raise awareness about the pervasiveness of cyber threats, discuss the role of executive leadership in managing these risks, and to share actions being taken by the FFIEC.

The watchdog says the pilot examinations are particularly focusing on "risk management and oversight, threat intelligence and collaboration, cybersecurity controls, service provider and vendor risk management, and cyber incident management and resilience".

In April, the FFIEC warned banks to protect their automated teller machines and card authorisation systems from a fresh wave of cyber-attacks that seek to exploit ATM control weaknesses to spew out millions of dollars in fraudulent withdrawals.

The Council also called on banks to step up their readiness to repel Distributed Denial of Service Attacks that aim to cripple public-facing Websites.

To coincide with the programme launch, the regulatory body has also set up a dedicated Web page to act as a central repository for current and future FFIEC-related materials on cybersecurity. It provides links to joint statements, webinars, and other information that may help financial institutions to erect effective safeguards.

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