Cyber Threats Pose Potential Systemic Risk

Cyber Threats Pose Potential Systemic Risk: Hackers and other cybercriminals pose as grave a threat to the financial system as the recent financial crisis if banks and government officials don’t mount an effective response, a top U.S. official warned Wednesday.

The growing sophistication of cyberattacks spawned by criminal organizations, hackers and other foreign governments could pose a systemic risk to the financial system, Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry said in prepared remarks for a speech in Washington. While such threats are manageable the risks should not be downplayed, Mr. Curry said.

“The financial services industry is one of the more attractive targets for cyberattacks, and, unfortunately, the threat is growing,” Mr. Curry said.

Regulators and financial industry executives have increasingly raised alarms about the ability of cybercrimes to disrupt the financial system. Banks have spent millions trying to stave off and respond to such strikes, including “denial-of-service” attacks against banks such as Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and Capital One Financial Corp. (COF) that take down bank websites.