Canada’s Central Bank Says Financial Sector is Vulnerable to Cyberattacks

The Bank of Canada has warned that interconnected banks are vulnerable to a perpetuating series of cyberattacks, pointing to an inherent structural vulnerability in such a framework.

A new report released by Canada’s central bank has warned of a structural vulnerability that leaves banks open to an exploit where an early initial attack could see its effects spread to other sectors. As reported by the CBC, the ‘ripples’ of such an attack could show telling effects in utilities such as the energy or water systems sector.

“The interconnectedness of the financial system could lead to rapid transmission of stress from a cyberattack,” an excerpt from the report read.

The bank added:

“This is a structural vulnerability that is unlikely to go away. And because of the interconnections in the system, the public sector has a role in co-ordinating cyber defences.”

Describing such a spread as ‘Contagion’, the central bank added that the public sector had a role to play in dispelling such attacks by coordinating cyber defenses.

The report is a part of the central bank’s monthly financial review, which also points to the former head of the NSA strongly suggesting that private sector companies like banks ought to be doing a better job of sharing information about attempted or ongoing hacks with its peers and the wider industry.

Speaking at a defense industry trade show, General Keith Alexander, now retired, revealed that banks collected metadata of hacking attempts recorded in their firewall logs. Sharing this information, he said, would benefit the war against cyberattacks.

A prolonged ‘Contagion’ attack, Canada’s central bank said, could have a telling impact on the wider society and the real economy.

The report warned:

A prolonged interruption in financial services, compromised data integrity or a loss of confidence could harm the financial system with knock-on effects to the real economy.

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