KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday issued guidelines for banks to improve their security systems against cyber attacks.

The SBP has advised commercial banks, development financial institutions and microfinance banks to continuously improve their cyber security controls to enable them to anticipate, withstand, detect and respond to such attacks.

The SBP’s instructions provide directions in areas such as risk ownership and management responsibility; periodic evaluation and monitoring security controls; regular independent assessment and tests and industry collaboration and contingency planning.

The SBP said the instructions require the board of directors (BoD) of financial institutions to regularly evaluate the adequacy of cyber security systems with regard to emerging threats. Senior management is expected to ensure that an organisational plan of action exists in each institution that is regularly updated for implementation.

Cyber threats have become a global phenomenon and are consistently growing in sophistication and potency despite innovation in cyber security technologies and practices.

“The banks, MFBs and DFIs are required to make necessary arrangements to comply with the instructions latest by Dec 31, 2016,” said the SBP.

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