Cyber Attacks Pose Danger to Financial System: U.S. Regulator

The threat of cyber attacks on the U.S. financial system is growing as new online products emerge and weapons for hackers become more accessible, said Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry.

“The growing sophistication and frequency of cyber attacks is a cause for concern, not only because of the potential for disruption, but also because of the potential for destruction of the systems and information that support our banks,” Curry said in remarks prepared for delivery today at the Exchequer Club in Washington.

With consumers more dependent on computer access to their accounts and the banks seeking new mobile products, social networks and cloud computing, the firms face “global networks of well-organized nation-states, criminals, ‘hacktivists,’ and insiders that operate outside of the walls of our judicial system.” Banks such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) have been hit with distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, website attacks in which hackers flood systems with information to shut them down.

Curry, who also leads the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, an interagency group that coordinates practices and standards across the U.S. banking agencies. Curry said the FFIEC has established a cyber-security group that has been meeting with intelligence and law-enforcement officials.

Defending the financial system will require information sharing between agencies and among companies “for the good of our country,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jesse Hamilton in Washington at jhamilton33@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Maura Reynolds at mreynolds34@bloomberg.net.

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