Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Coming to Wall Street This Month: Quantum Dawn 2 — Cyberwar!

WarroomIf anything seems a little off on Wall Street later this month, you can blame the cyberwar.

Or rather the simulated cyber attack exercise dubbed Quantum Dawn 2. As reported by Lauren Tara LaCapra at Reuters, it’s an exercise that will run through most of the business day on June 28, simulating a significant cyber attack against several Wall Street banks.

Organized by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, it will involve numerous banks, including Citigroup and Bank of America, the U.S. departments of Treasury and Homeland Security, the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission. At least three executives from each participating organization will take part.

It will start off at first with some seemingly random bursts of confusing information, followed by a pause that will give execs a chance to make decisions. Later on, it will accelerate, and conditions will appear to get a lot worse.

This is the sequel to 2011’s Quantum Dawn 1, which included in its scenario a group of armed gunmen running around lower Manhattan trying to gain access to various exchanges and attempting to blow stuff up.

In that exercise, all the participants were in a single conference room comparing notes and making decisions. This time around, they’ll be working from their own offices, much as they would during a real-world attack. The point is to create a more accurate “fog of war” situation.

The simulation comes as big banks in particular are being warned by federal regulators to improve their defenses against the threat of cyber attacks. BofA, J.P. Morgan Chase and Capital One Financial are known to have come under attack in recent years. A recent survey by Verizon found that 75 percent of cyber-security incidents at large companies were motivated by financial gain.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik