UPDATE 3-G7 sets common cyber-security guidelines for financial sector

Tue Oct 11, 2016 1:15pm EDT
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(Adds details and comments by U.S. Treasury, Fed officials, paragraphs 6-11)

By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON Oct 11 (Reuters) - The Group of Seven industrial powers on Tuesday said they had agreed on guidelines for protecting the global financial sector from cyber attacks following a series of cross-border bank thefts by hackers.

Policymakers have grown more worried about financial cyber security in the wake of numerous hacks of SWIFT, the global financial messaging system, including an $81 million theft in February from the Bangladeshi central bank's account at the New York Federal Reserve.

"Cyber risks are growing more dangerous and diverse, threatening to disrupt our interconnected global financial systems," according to the guidelines agreed by G7 finance ministers and central bankers.

The guidelines, which officials described as non-binding principles, were in a three-page document posted on the Web pages of G7 government agencies. The G7 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin told reporters in a telephone briefing that G7 officials had surveyed their existing cyber security practices and identified potential shortfalls.

A Treasury official later said the guidance was an effort to encourage regulators and firms to approach cyber security from a risk-management perspective. Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said in a statement the guidelines would address the weakest links in global cyber security.

Cyber thieves have targeted large financial institutions around the world, including America's largest bank JPMorgan, as well as smaller players like Ecuador's Banco del Austro and Vietnam's Tien Phong Bank. The U.S. Federal Reserve's internal security staff detected more than 50 cyber breaches between 2011 and 2015, with several incidents described as "espionage."   Continued...