APRA Orders Banks and Other Financial Firms to Step up Their Defences Against Cyberattacks

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Regulators have warned Australian banks to strengthen their cyber security measures following increased attacks on the financial sector.

John Lonsdale, Chairman of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), has warned that banks should protect themselves from cyber threats by updating their IT systems regularly and implementing measures to detect intrusions better.

According to Lonsdale, a recent study revealed a “lack of rigour” in the kind and frequency of security control testing and insufficient board monitoring on cyber.

“Entities have more work to do,” Lonsdale said in a speech at the AFR Banking Summit in Sydney. “There is a need to continuously raise the bar on cyber preparedness and resilience across banking, insurance, and superannuation.”

“APRA is prepared to wield the stick and take enforcement action if necessary,” he added. 

Australia’s chief banking regulator has urged the nation’s banks to bolster their cyber security defences following high-profile data thefts.

He noted that the recent Latitude Financial breach, in which 8 million driving licenses and 50,000 passport numbers were stolen, was a sobering reminder of the need for vigilance.

He also said Australia’s 10 largest banks had passed their latest severe stress test to assess how they would cope in a highly challenging economic climate.

APRA urges Australian banks to enhance cyber security measures and adopt best practices to prevent future attacks. They are also looking into what caused the breaches at Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse Group AG to ensure that similar issues do not occur in Australia. 

Despite this, Lonsdale has reassured citizens that Australia’s banking systems are robust and have safeguards that exceed international standards. 

The APRA’s new standards are aimed at helping institutions better protect themselves against such threats. It is expected that other financial regulators worldwide will follow suit in issuing similar requirements to firms under their jurisdiction.

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