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Fourteen banks and industry trade associations from across Europe have been testing their mettle in a war-gaming WannaCry-style attack on a simulated bank network.

The cyberrange exercise, hosted by UBS, follows recent predictions from the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) that artificial intelligence will be increasingly used to create new ransomware that is able to evade detection and circumvent protections in 2019.

The exercise convened CISOs, CIOs, heads of security and security analysts from 14 leading financial services and trade associations to participate in the simulated attack, which was also observed by several multinational retail and investment banks, asset and wealth management and financial services companies.

Participants took part in an on-site technical and hands-on-keyboard experience that encouraged collaboration and information sharing with other teams and organisations to bolster defences and beat off the threat.

“We enjoyed working with representatives from other organisations and saw first-hand the impact that collaboration and information-sharing had on the participants’ decisions-making and response times,” says Carlo Hopstaken, chief information security officer and head of cyber assurance testing at UBS. “We look forward to strengthening the relationships that we developed during the exercise and we will encourage others in the industry to communicate with their peers more to improve the overall resilience of the financial services sector.”

FS-ISAC says will host its next cyberrange exercise, which will feature an updated version of the ransomware, in partnership with Santander in Spain in June 2019.

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