Cyber Crime Tops Regulation as Biggest Risk in U.K. Banks Survey

  • Hack could `bring down' a bank and trigger bailout: respondent
  • Threat tops list of 24 risks to British banks in PwC study

The U.K.’s biggest banks fear cyber attacks more than regulation, faltering economic growth and other potential risks, and are concerned that a hack could be so catastrophic that it could lead to a state rescue, according to a survey.

QuickTake Cybersecurity

Cyber crime topped a list of 24 possible risks in a study of 113 U.K. bankers, observers and risk regulators conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP for the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation published on Tuesday. One British respondent said there was the potential for a hack to “bring down” a bank, “necessitating a state bailout.” The survey also found fears over capital adequacy, liquidity and political interference are beginning to wane.

Hackers have already reached into the infrastructure of banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and HSBC Holdings Plc, stealing millions of customers’ bank data, as government officials and security specialists push lenders to do more to prevent cyber-crime in the global financial system. Barclays Plc has gone as far as hacking its own computer systems to stay a step ahead of the criminals.

“Banks still have more to do to address the scale of risk and its ever-changing nature,” Simon Hunt, U.K. head of banking and capital markets at PwC, said in a statement. There is a “strong global consensus that the main threats to banking safety” come from areas such as criminality, technology risk, and conduct, he said.

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