Following the recent attacks by unidentified groups on a global messaging system used by the financial community, Hong Kong’s central bank has launched a new program to strengthen lenders’ ability to protect their critical technology systems. The initiative named Cybersecurity Fortification Initiative (CFI) aims to raise the level of cybersecurity of the banks in Hong Kong through a three-pronged approach.
- A Cyber Resilience Assessment Framework, which seeks to establish a common risk-based framework for banks to assess their own risk profiles and determine the level of defense and resilience required.
- A new Professional Development Program, which is a training and certification program in Hong Kong which aims to increase the supply of qualified professionals in cybersecurity.
- A new piece of infrastructure namely the Cyber Intelligence Sharing Platform will be developed to allow sharing of cyber threat intelligence among banks in order to enhance collaboration and uplift cyber resilience.
To implement the CFI as quickly and as effectively as possible, the following actions will be taken:
- The HKMA will issue a formal circular next week to all banks setting out that it is a supervisory requirement for them to implement the CFI;
- Concurrently the HKMA will conduct a three-month consultation with the banking industry on the proposed Cyber Resilience Assessment Framework;
- The HKMA will work with Hong Kong Institute of Bankers (HKIB) and Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) to roll out the first training courses for cybersecurity practitioners by the end of 2016; and
- The HKMA will work with The Hong Kong Association of Banks (HKAB) and ASTRI to establish the Cyber Intelligence Sharing Platform by the end of 2016.
“If we wish to raise the cybersecurity of our banking system to a level commensurate with Hong Kong’s position as the leading international financial center in Asia, we cannot afford to go slow or lose any time,” said Norman T.L. Chan, Chief Executive of the HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Authority).
“In a spirit of cooperation to achieve this common goal, the HKMA, the banking industry and our partners will work closely together to implement this ambitious but necessary CFI according to plan,” he added.
“ASTRI has identified financial technology as our first and foremost key R&D initiative for Hong Kong. Cyber security aside, we are also focusing on big data analytics, block chain, and various other advanced technologies,” said Dr. Franklin Tong Fuk-kay, Chief Executive Officer, ASTRI (Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute).