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IBS Journal June 2018 EDITOR’S NOTE CYBERCRIME OR JUST A SHORTAGE OF IT EXPERTS?


THERE IS A GLOBAL SHORTAGE OF CYBERSECURITY PERSONNEL, AND THAT SEEMS TO BE DIRECTLY AFFECTING THE BANKING TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY WITH TWO MAJOR IT FAILURES RECENTLY HITTING WELL-KNOWN FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS


Bill Boyle Senior Editor


billb@ibsintelligence.com


05


R


ecently we witnessed two major banking IT failures, one of which – the TSB outage – we examine in depth in this month’s Journal. TSB is stoutly denying that the outage was caused by any hack attack but with the chair of the Public Accounts Committee of the UK Government publicly calling for the CEO of TSB to resign, the outage/attack cannot have been worse for the bank.


Then we had the sight of millions of Visa users unable to access their accounts with quite frankly astounding scenes – which I witnessed – of shops turning away customers, supermarket shoppers with no cash leaving their packed trollies at the check- outs and holidaymakers stranded at airports because hire car companies could not verify their cards.


Whether there was any cybersecurity threat will be a point of debate – indeed it has been a hot topic this week at InfoSec in London. But the major point the banking technology community has to take on board is that in the 21st Century these outages are not permissible. Access to the banking system over the internet has to be 100% reliable at all times. Just a single outage such as Visa’s dents the idea of a truly cashless society in a huge way.


We learn by our experiences and if you told those stranded with no ability to hire a car at airports all over the world last week that it was ‘just a glitch and we apologise’, it just wouldn’t have been enough. Access to 24x7 internet is as vital now to a growing and advanced society as water. The truly astonishing growth in mobile phone and smartphone usage leaves all sectors of all industries that provide customer services at the edge of a new threat – instant bankruptcy.


In the UK retail outlets that are almost a century old such as House of Fraser are balancing on the edge of extinction because they


cannot achieve the proper balance between internet and bricks and mortar.


A cross-party group of MPs is also demanding answers from Visa. Nicky Morgan, the chair of the Treasury Select Committee, has written to Charlotte Hogg, the chief executive for Europe at Visa, about her personal handling of the failure and to find out what went wrong on 1 June.


The hapless Hogg joined Visa last year after she resigned as deputy governor of the Bank of England two weeks into the role. Her position at the Bank was left untenable after the Treasury Select Committee, chaired at the time by Andrew Tyrie, came to the conclusion that she was not up to the job because of her failure to disclose that her brother worked for Barclays, which is regulated by the Bank and was therefore a potential conflict of interest. Now she presides over a major fiasco. It’s time to look more closely at the role of the individual in these matters.


We have a shortage of cybersecurity specialists – 3.5 million globally to be exact. The worry is that the short-staffed security operations centres are drowning in thousands of alerts and warnings across their organisation’s networks. Maybe Visa was an example. Yet an attacker only needs to succeed in one attack among these missed warnings to achieve their purpose.


So far the solution has been for organisations to try and hire as many security analysts as possible then sit them in front of SIEM solutions from vendors like LogRythm, Splunk and ArcSight. This week I saw a better, more intelligent solution from a startup called Jask that uses AI to free up the analysts to do what they do best – enhance the conclusions of AI with a human freed from the task of looking for a needle in a hay factory. More on amazing new startups from Silicon Valley next month.


www.ibsintelligence.com


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