What if? Simulation of cyberattack on global financial system held in Israel

On Thursday, Israel led a 10-country simulation of a major cyberattack on the global financial system in an attempt to increase cooperation that could help to curb any potential damage to financial markets and banks.

The simulation was originally supposed to take place at the World Fair in Dubai but it was moved to Israel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The simulated “war game”, as Israel's Finance Ministry called it, was planned over the past year, and evolved over 10 days, with sensitive data being released on the Dark Web. Fake news reports were also used in the simulation which would cause chaos in global markets and a run on banks.

The simulation – sparked by “sophisticated” players – included many types of different attacks that would impact global foreign exchange and bond markets, liquidity, the integrity of data and transactions between importers and exporters.

Threats like these are possible after several recent high-profile cyberattacks on large companies, the organisers said. Containing such attacks and limiting their impact is best done through such simulations and closer international cooperation.

Participants in the “Collective Strength” initiative included treasury officials from Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Thailand, as well as representatives from international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund.

The participants discussed international policies to respond to the crisis, including an international bank holiday, debt repayment grace periods, delinking major currencies.