The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), an industry trade group for banks securities firms and asset managers, is worried about catastrophic attacks against their members, Bloomberg reported today.

Bloomberg reports on an internal document they have seen, stating:

“The document sketches an unusually frank and pessimistic view by the industry of its readiness for attacks wielded by nation-states or terrorist groups that aim to “destroy data and machines.”

It says the concerns are “compounded by the dependence of financial institutions on the electric grid,” which is also vulnerable to physical and cyber attack.“

Since the Tom Clancy novel (Debt of Honor) that foresaw the use of fully fueled airplanes as a means of attack also used a software attack against Wall Street that wiped out a day’s transactions, perhaps it is not completely unwise for banks and the government to consider such a scenario.

The June 27 document cited also confirms that SIFMA has retained former NSA director General Keith Alexander (previously reported by Bloomberg for a reported fee of $600k-$1 million). Alexander has called in the Chertoff Group to fill out the consulting team.

Banks should already be engaged in scenario planning for attacks on their infrastructure. These types of scenarios should be added to their risk management profiles since the impact of such an attack could at the highest possible level lead to a total.

While an organization like SIFMA may have the resources and the pull to involve government agencies it is still on every financial institution’s shoulders to bear the consequences of debilitating attacks.

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