Insurers, Feds Jointly Pursue Financial Sector Cybersecurity Measures

December 13, 2010

Leading insurance and other financial services companies have signed a research agreement with federal homeland security officials to improve cybersecurity in the financial sector.

Through a public-private sector memorandum of understanding signed on Dec. 6, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate and the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council agreed to work together to speed the application of research into practice for better cybersecurity for the critically important financial services sector.

The organizations said they plan to leverage their expertise, research and development capabilities and other resources to explore new cybersecurity technologies and develop new processes that benefit critical financial services functions. The results are also expected to be applicable to health care and Smart Grid needs.

The three members of the partnership have complementing capabilities:

  • NIST’s Information Technology Laboratory specializes in mathematics, statistics and computer science and conducts research to develop the measurement and standards infrastructure for emerging information technologies and applications.
  • The Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council—whose members include banks, credit unions, insurance companies, payment services, trading firms and others—supports research and development initiatives to protect the physical and electronic infrastructure of the banking and finance sector and to protect its customers by enhancing the sector’s resilience and integrity. Insurance members include the American Insurance Association, State Farm and Travelers Insurance.
  • The S&T Directorate is the Department of Homeland Security’s research and development arm. Among its priorities, S&T conducts—in cooperation with other federal agencies, state, local, and tribal governments, universities, and private industry—cybersecurity research and development to secure current and future cyber and critical infrastructures.

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