HKMA and MAS Warn on Cyber Security

On 15 September, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (the "HKMA") issued a letter drawing its authorized institutions' attention to the increasing importance of cyber security risk management.

The letter comes just weeks after a 24 August letter by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (the "MAS") warning Singaporean-regulated financial institutions of the importance of improving on their intrusion detection measures as part of cyber security defence planning. 

The regulatory focus on cyber security issues in two of Asia's leading financial services hubs highlights that even though financial institutions in Hong Kong and Singapore are already subject to fairly detailed and comprehensive technology and risk management regulation, cyber risk raises unprecedented challenges and justifies going above and beyond specific regulatory requirements.

The HKMA's letter notes that the "frequency, stealth, sophistication and potential impact" of cyber security attacks are on the rise.  Coupling this with the increasingly varied motivations and affiliations of hackers, the regulator is concerned that conventional risk management controls and philosophies practised by financial institutions need to be adjusted in order to meet the emerging challenges.

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