author photo
By Bruce Sussman
Mon | Apr 12, 2021 | 1:00 PM PDT

If you are any kind of "fed watcher," you know the leaders of the United States Federal Reserve tend to be very cautious about what they say.

This is because in past instances, a single statement from previous Federal Reserve Chairs have sent the markets racing up or down. 

With this in mind, it was noteworthy to see Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speak so boldly about cyberrisk—especially the context in which he was speaking about it. 

Federal Reserve Chairman statement on cyber risk

CBS News anchor Scott Pelley asked the Fed Chairman about the odds of a systemic crisis like the one we saw in 2008, in which banks and other institutions needed bailouts. Will we need that following the pandemic?

"The odds of that are very, very low. Very," replied Powell. And then he continued:

"But, the world changes, the world evolves, and the risks change as well. And I would say that the risks that we keep our eyes on the most now is cyberrisk; that's really where the risk, I would say, is now, rather than something that looked like the global financial crisis."

Pelley then asked Powell the following question: "Well, when you talk about cyberrisk, what are you talking about? What kind of scenarios are you looking at?"

To which Powell replied:

"There are scenarios in which a large financial institution would lose the ability to track the payments that it's making, where you would have a part of the financial system come to a halt, or perhaps even a broad part.

And so we spend so much time and energy and money, guarding against these things. There are cyberattacks every day on, on all major institutions. Now, that's a big part of the threat picture in today's world."

Cybersecurity continues to rise in prominence

SecureWorld has frequently commented on cybersecurity's rise to prominence during the last decade.

Time and again, we've seen organizations hire their first ever named CISO or equivalent. 

And we're increasingly hearing from security leaders on the SecureWorld conference stage that their organizations are finally understanding that cyberrisk is business risk.  

And between the SolarWinds supply chain attack, the Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities, and ransomware running rampant, more organizations than ever must surely be taking note of how crucial information security has become.

And now we have the chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve adding to that chorus. Cyberrisk is a risk to the economy and our financial institutions:

"I would say that the risks that we keep our eyes on the most now is cyberrisk, that's really where the risk, I would say, is now...."

And at SecureWorld, we are trying to help secure North America one region at a time. Will you join in?

Comments