Equity Focus : Cyber Security – Annie Are You Ok ?

This post was written for www.hnworth.com, a site targeting high net worth individuals in Singapore.

Have fun reading !

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When Bloomberg had a global blackout on Friday, I was not online, thankfully. For I can well imagine the panic that an outage of such scale and duration would have elicited in me, who has never experienced that for 18 years.

Not only did the chat systems fail, which happens regularly for short intervals, the entire system was inaccessible which included the trading platform that most of the street has grown used to and for some, all they only know.

Back in the 90’s, there were alternatives. We had Reuters which operated this D2000 dealing terminals that was DOS based in all its green and black glory. In fact D2000 was the main form of trading for most interbank folks in forex, swaps and options. I distinctly remember the trauma of each incessant beep that comes with each interbank call, jumping to attention and rushing to make a price to be transmitted and then having the finger on the “Interrupt” button to disrupt the unseen adversary before they “hit” me.

We also had the Reuters screen showing just about anything from news to live-fed prices to be customised in as small a quadrant as you would like such that you can have a page full of mini screens that was limited to the keenness of sight.

Bloomberg lent an air of finesse to the markets, making it necessary for us to remember the codes to each screen if we want to pull up global equities (WEI), futures and more. It is like a secret language much like Freemasonry hand signals that only those in the inner circle of Bloomberg users would comprehend and master only over time.

Besides, Bloomberg has always been the platform for the bond chaps and when I moved to bonds, to the higher echelons of the intellect ladder of the dealing room, it was almost snobbery to ask someone if they were “on Bloomberg” instead of commonplace Reuters where the forex chaps were to be found.

Thus, when banks started their cost cutting and justification exercises after the Lehman collapse, Reuters screens were done away with and only Bloomberg remained, all of us fully aware of the risk that Bloomberg was a private company that ran its own servers and connections in their secured in house systems.

Michael Jackson was playing in my head as I pondered on the consequence of the event. Too big to fail ? 3 bio worth of deals postponed because of a 150 min breakdown (Deals postponed after Bloomberg terminals go down in Europe and Asia http://on.wsj.com/1E8tSBd). Not to mention the number of lost trades, stuck trades and

Annie, are you OK?
so, Annie, are you OK?
are you OK Annie?
you’ve been hit by
you’ve been struck by
A smooth criminal

Cyber threats and cyber security. Data security, network security, hackers, cyber drones and more.

Most companies believe they will be hacked this year ! according to a poll.  And some of them will not even know it. The World Economic Forum warns that it will only get worse this year.

The White House has deemed the Sony hack late last year as a national security matter. Not only was the controversial film on North Korea, The Interview, lost to them, several other unreleased films were compromised, sensitive emails were leaked and inconceivable goodwill lost.

To continue reading……