Bankers and US officials have warned that cyber-terrorists will try to wreck the financial system's computer networks. Authorities in the US have launched an investigation following a so-called cyber attack on a number of institutions including against JP Morgan Chase, the banking giant.
Treasury Department officials have quietly told bank insurers that in the event of a cataclysmic attack, they would activate a government backstop that doesn't explicitly cover electronic intrusions, two people briefed on the talks said.
"I can't foresee a situation where the president wouldn't do something via executive order," said Edward DeMarco, general counsel of the Risk Management Association, a professional group.
"All we're talking about is the difference between the destruction of tangible property and intangible property."
The attack on JP Morgan, though limited in scope, underscored how cyber assaults are evolving in ferocity and sophistication, and turning more political, possibly as a prelude to the sort of event Mr DeMarco describes.
Not simply an effort to steal money, the attack looted the bank of data from deep within JP Morgan's network.
A worst-case event that destroyed records, drained accounts and froze networks could be as damaging economically to the US and global economies as the terrorist attacks of against the US on September 11, 2001, experts have warned. (Bloomberg)