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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Treasury and Federal Reserve Support G-7 Elements of Cybersecurity for the Financial Sector

Federal Issues Federal Reserve International Department of Treasury Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security

Federal Issues

On October 11, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that the Group of Seven (G-7) countries – comprised of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom – issued fundamental elements to “help address cyber risks facing the financial sector from both entity-specific and system-wide perspectives.” In Fundamental Elements of Cybersecurity for the Financial Sector, G-7 outlines eight elements for private and public entities within the financial sector to use as “building blocks” for confronting cyber-related issues, the first of which is to establish and implement tailored cybersecurity strategies and operational frameworks that should be tailored to an entity’s nature, size, complexity, risk profile, and culture. G-7’s remaining seven elements are as follows: (i) define and facilitate effective governance structures to ensure accountability; (ii) identify cyber risks and implement control assessments, including systems, policies, procedures, and training; (iii) “establish systematic monitoring processes to rapidly detect cyber incidents and periodically evaluate the effectiveness of identified controls, including through network monitoring, testing, audits, and exercises”; (iv) ensure that incident response policies are effective and guarantee timeliness; (v) establish and test contingency plans that help to ensure effective recovery of critical functions and operations; (vi) share cybersecurity information with internal and external stakeholders, including threat indicators, vulnerabilities, and incidents; and (vii) develop a review process that addresses, among other things, evolving cyber risks. In support of the G-7 elements, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer stated that they are “a crucial step in furthering hardening each link in the chain of our global financial system.”