Keith Alexander, the former National Security Agency chief and head of the U.S. Cyber Command, recently spoke to cyber consultants about the potential dangers facing the financial industry. According to a recent Bloomberg article, Alexander retired in March, but is now trying to speak directly to banks about what they need to do to ensure national security.
“It would be devastating if one of our major banks was hit, because they’re so interconnected,” Alexander told the news source.
Alexander gave an example in his interview with the news source that depicted a successful major attack on a bank. According to the former NSA leader, the breach would shake consumer confidence even if the institution were able to recover quickly.
Essentially, if a customer’s “banking stuff was just wiped out,” and the bank had no record of how much money its customers had on deposit, the customer would have to go back to his or her last surviving record, “but that might not be today,” Alexander said.
One obstacle to a stronger system, according to Alexander, is the fear banks have about privacy and liability when they give data to other firms and the government. Without a law that would set rules and protections for information-sharing, he added that a legitimate fear of his is that a “9/11 incyberspace” will occur.
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