Quantum Dawn 2: Banks versus hackers

Quantum Dawn Two. No, it’s not the next Keanu Reeves surfer movie. It's a fire drill for big banks to test their defenses against hackers.

Quantum Dawn 2. No, it’s not the next James Bond movie. It's a fire drill for big banks to test their defenses against hackers. Some 50 organizations will participate, from the Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security, to Bank of America and Citigroup.

Think blinking laptop screens and some code -- all designed to start trouble. But Nish Bhalla, founder and CEO of Security Compass, says that trouble could mean many different things. The key is creating chaos for the systems and the people who fight hackers.

"If I'm trying to create chaos, I don't care about getting access to the data," Bhalla says. "But I could totally lock out every username possible in the online banking application."

Once online users can't get into their accounts, you can imagine how the dominoes fall. The software company Symantec says cyber-attacks against businesses in the U.S. grew 42 percent last year, which is one reason why regulators are emphasizing the importance of the drill.

About the author

Ben Johnson is the host of Marketplace Tech.

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