Banks to Meet With Treasury Department on Cyber Threats

Tabletop Exercises with LIFARS Incident Response Team

A group of Wall Street banks plan to meet the U.S. Treasury Department and other government officials next month to talk about how to cooperate to fend off cyber attacks, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The agenda of the meeting has not been drawn up, nor have all the participants been identified, they added.

Bankers and government officials say they want to figure out ways law enforcement can alert financial firms about cyber attacks without violating the privacy of businesses that are victimized. Both sides have long complained that such concerns have hindered notification, preventing the industry from quickly adapting to emerging threats.

A multitude of federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security and National Security Agency, help monitor and fight the hackers that have increasingly targeted financial institutions in recent years.

Banks have suffered from a series of high- and low-profile attacks in recent years. This week, JPMorgan was subject to a new kind of phishing scam that sought to access credentials not just for the bank but for other financial institutions.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association trade group is organising the meeting, the sources said. SIFMA has been trying to foster better collaboration between the government and the industry for some time, organising simulated cyber attacks dubbed “Quantum Dawn” that involve authorities, regulators and banks.

The trade group hosted a call last week with members and former NSA Director Keith Alexander, who now works for the consulting firm Promontory Financial Group, to discuss how to engage with the White House on cyber security matters.

SIFMA declined to comment on the call or the meeting. A representative for Alexander did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bankers and bank regulators have become more vocal lately about concerns that cyber attacks could put customer data and the stability of the financial system at risk.

JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sachs Group Inc CEO Lloyd Blankfein have both named cyber attacks as a big concern this year. Wells Fargo & Co Chief Risk Officer Mike Loughlin said in May that “cyber risk is currently our biggest risk.”

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew gave a speech focused on the topic at a Wall Street investor conference in July.

“These incidents represent a direct threat to our economic and national security, perpetrated by state and non-state actors around the world, with growing intensity and increasing sophistication,” Lew said.