Immersive Labs and CMORG announce free cyber crisis exercise for UK financial services firms

Immersive Labs and the Cross Market Operational Resilience Group (CMORG) announced an exercise to help technical teams and business-level decision-makers at financial services firms across the entire industry mitigate the impact of an advanced cyber attack.

This exercise is being offered as a free firm-level exercise open to the entire financial sector to help build company-wide resilience in the face of increasing cyber-attacks and shifting compliance requirements. The simulation centres around the discovery of malware from an advanced adversary which has gained access to a fictional organization’s systems after exploiting commonly used software.

The aim is to help decision-makers in risk, operations, communications, regulatory and technical teams test their knowledge, skills and judgement in the face of a plausible, but theoretical, cyber attack.

CMORG, which is co-chaired by the Bank of England and UK Finance, leads sector-wide collective action on operational resilience. This includes bringing firms and market participants together to develop solutions that improve the resilience of the sector as a whole. While CMORG has a well-established operational resilience programme, this is the first time an industry-developed exercise has been made available to the entire sector, courtesy of the Immersive Labs Cyber Crisis Simulator.

By running senior teams through an attack narrative in the browser, the Simulator tests and analyses decision-making on everything from legal and communications strategy to technical mitigations, providing real-time feedback on the impact of participants’ decisions. Firm-level participation will not be evaluated; instead, high-level feedback will be shared with firms to improve collective resilience.

Mohit Sarvaiya, EMEA CIO for BNY Mellon, who provided executive sponsorship for the exercise said, “The increasing sophistication and severity of cyber-attacks can debilitate a whole organization. This means a well-practised response is required from a range of stakeholders, and it is imperative that everyone plays their part. This exercise provides a way for financial services companies to better understand crucial decision-making elements such as prioritisation and to rehearse processes with the aim of collectively developing resilience and preparedness.”

“There is no better way to do this than with an exercise based on real-world events. Unfortunately it is often difficult to collect all senior stakeholders together, which is why the Immersive Labs platform is so valuable, making it easier for teams across the board to exercise at scale.”

James Hadley, CEO of Immersive Labs, said, “As recent attacks have shown, cyber crisis response is now everyone’s business. The entire workforce has to swing into action, acting as a coordinated mechanism to mitigate reputational, financial, technical and regulatory risk.”

“Running the exercise on the Immersive Labs platform will help CMORG offer the entire sector the opportunity to baseline and understand this coordinated response to improve knowledge, skills and judgement.”

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