City of London police commissioner Adrian Leppard has warned of the implications of a cyber attack on global financial institutions both here and in the US.
Leppard was in New York speaking to the Financial Times when he revealed the concern, and his plan to "push back" against the threat to financial institutions.
"We look at terrorism and think if global trading stopped that would have an enormous impact on Western society, global society , at the heart of capitalism," he told the paper.
"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."
The FT reports that Leppard singled out Islamic State as the threat here, and said that industry must strike a balance between the use of technology and the risks that this presents.
"There'll be evidence to suggest that all of the stock exchanges in the world have been breached in the last 10 years, Nasdaq, London Stock Exchange, all of them," he told the FT, adding that it is rare that the financial industry shares its problems with the authorities.
"Will we ever get the financial institutions to report to us? I think it's going to be difficult and I think we are going to have to think about how we encourage that."
Leppard suggested that this encouragement could involve making the non-disclosure of financial breaches a criminal offence.
Separate information provided to us by the City of London Police reveals a deal between it and the New York County District Attorney's Office to cope with such threats through a combined response.
It said that from the Spring of next year an information and expert sharing arrangement will be in operation.
"It is [crucial] we take a proactive approach to this threat by putting in place the technical and legal systems that will keep trading platforms secure from malware and prevent companies from being compromised by a rogue employee or weak IT systems," added Leppard.
"The agreement signed by the City of London Police and the New York District Attorney is another important step in the right direction, bringing the people who protect the Square Mile and Wall Street closer together and ensuring we are doing everything we can to thwart what has become a common enemy."
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