A global watchdog has sounded the alarm about the growing danger of cyber attacks, on financial markets, warning that firms and regulators around the world need to address the "uneven" response to the threat of online assaults.
Greg Medcraft, chairman of the board of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (Iosco), predicted that the next major financial shock – or "black swan event" – will come from cyber space, following a succession of attacks on financial players.
He warned that there needed to be a more concerted effort to tackle cyber threats around the world as current approaches varied widely. "The feedback we have had from industry in discussions is that there is not a consistency in approach," he said.
Recent big hacking attacks against US retailer Target, which had the credit card data of up to 40 million shoppers stolen, and eBay – as well as the "Heartbleed" bug discovered in software used to secure two-thirds of the web – have exposed the vulnerability of websites to attack.
Regulators are looking at producing a global "toolbox" next year to assess whether firms are sufficiently robust and managing their risks adequately. The idea is to identify risk management standards for detecting and responding to cyber-incursions, Mr Medcraft said, building on work pioneered in the US.
"The issue of cyber resilience is a bit of a sleeper issue, and one that we have to be proactive [about] in terms of making sure the risk management approach is robust," Mr Medcraft said in an interview with the Financial Times. "Cyber crime has a huge potential impact on markets."