The British Banking Association is working with BAE Systems Applied Intelligence to develop a financial crime alert system that will see 12 government and law enforcement agencies warn banks of the latest threats to their integrity.
Scheduled for introduction in 2015, the new alert service will allow the sector to react more swiftly to major incidents and detect emerging problems and threatening criminal trends, says BBA chief executive Anthony Browne.
"Receiving real-time alerts from such domestic and international bodies, including the National Crime Agency and 11 other government and law enforcement agencies, will be vital intelligence for the army of staff banks have already hired to combat these threats," he says.
The effort builds on the successful arrangement between banks and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau that has prevented over £100 million of fraud losses through information-sharing.
The move comes amid growing concern about the threat posed to financial stability by the actions of cyber-crooks and intelligence agencies. Yesterday, the 4500-member strong European Banking Federation signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Europol to intensify co-operation between law enforcement and the financial sector in the EU. The MoU allows the exchange of expertise, statistics and other strategic information between both parties.
Wim Mijs, chief executive of the European Banking Federation, says: "Our members already cooperate intensely with their own, national police authorities in order to fight with financial cybercrime. Our partnership with Europol now adds a European dimension to this important work. International co-operation between banks and law enforcement bodies is essential because it is clear that criminals know no borders."
In New York, where JPMorgan recently suffered a serious breach in its defences, Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the state's Department of Financial Services, has told Bloomberg that the world needs to prepare for an "Armageddon"-sized attack on bank IT systems.
"They [cyber attackers] are breaking into everything. It is only a matter of time before something happens that is more systematic and problematic," he said. "I worry that we are going to have some sort of major cyber-event in the financial system that's going to cause us all to shudder".