The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) is set to kick off a massive coordinated cyberattack involving about 50 large institutions, including top banks and government agencies.

SIFMA

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), a trade group, will coordinate cybersecurity exercise to test incident response, resolution and coordination processes for the financial services sector and the individual member firms to a street-wide cyber attack.

Institution participants doubled

The activity is code named ‘Quantum Dawn 2’ and will be performed today.

According to SIFMA, the number of institutions evincing interest in participating ‘Quantum Dawn 2’ is already more than double that of the ‘Quantum Dawn 1’ exercise held in 2011.

In November 2011, the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council hosted a market-wide cyber disruption exercise focused on risk practices across equities, clearing and trading processes. This exercise addressed infrastructure disruption issues besides facilitating participants to exercise their internal incident response plans in a coordinated manner.

Nearly 50 institutions, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) and including government agencies like the U.S. Treasury will participate in Quantum Dawn 2.

Modus operandi of Quantum Dawn 2

The mega-cyberattack drill will require each of the participating institutions to run software developed by Cyber Strategies, a firm specialized in making cyber exercise software for financial institutions.

Dave Aitel, CEO of the security firm Immunity elaborated on the procedure. Aitel explained that an employee sitting at his desk might get a prompt saying, “this bank is having integrity issues with money,” or “you can’t make trades over this technical system.” The employee then might role-play talking to an FBI agent—likely an actual one enlisted to help with the drill.

SIFMA – Quantum Dawn 2 to build on earlier success

SIFMA indicated today’s massive cyberattack drill is built on the lessons learned from the previous exercise as well as the second generation version of the exercise tool called the Distributed Environment for Critical Infrastructure Decision-making Exercises-Finance Sector (DECIDE-FS).

Consultancy firm Deloitte will assess Quantum Dawn 2.

SIFMA is set to conduct a three-day exercise in November to measure Wall Street’s capacity to keep markets functioning during mock H7N9 bird flu and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) pandemics.

With cyber attacks considered the top risk factors by almost every bank, SIFMA’s recent initiative will facilitate each participating firm to test their internal coordination mechanisms and processes to maintain business resiliency.