Fighting the rise of cybercrime and online fraud by establishing the Nordic Financial CERT

Working with Capgemini to establish the first international financial CERT, Nordic financial institutions pool resources to respond to increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats and online fraud

Client: Nordics Financial CERT

Region: Nordics

Industry: Banking & Capital Markets

Client Challenge: Financial institutions all across Scandinavia were experiencing increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks and online fraud and needed to become more reactive while improving security

Solution: Financial entities across a variety of Scandinavian countries combined resources and partnered with Capgemini to form an international financial CERT that could pool resources across international borders to respond more effectively to cyber threats and online fraud

Benefits

  • Greater responsiveness to cybersecurity attacks
  • Knowledge and resource sharing among organizations
  • Improved understanding of cyber threats and online fraud

Keeping pace with cybersecurity attacks

With every new technological advance, the threats that organizations and individuals must face have grown exponentially more dangerous. This has meant that security has become a top priority across all industries. However, digital attacks have grown more sophisticated, expanding from threats against specific, individual organizations to multiple entities at the same time, and have largely outpaced the advance of cybersecurity capabilities. In other words, cybercrime and fraud have become more innovative, aggressive, and organized in recent years.

To keep up, organizations must find other ways of defending themselves collectively rather than using numerous collaboration platforms that differ from country to country. In Norway, a network of banks and life insurance companies joined together to form the Norwegian Financial Computer Emergency Response team (CERT) in 2012. This existed under the umbrella of Finance Norway, the industry organization for the financial industry in Norway that represents 240 financial companies and their 50,000 employees.

The Norwegian Financial CERT effectively defended Norwegian financial institutions against digital security threats and cyber criminals. This enabled those organizations to coordinate when they were under simultaneous attacks, share knowledge of cybersecurity threats, and increase the efficiency of their defense.

However, whereas most CERTs to that point had remained within country borders, attackers did not play by the same rules. Cybersecurity threats continued to become more potent and began to simultaneously target multiple institutions located in different countries. As a result, national CERTs were no longer enough, and financial institutions from Sweden, Denmark, and Finland decided to join efforts to create the Nordic Financial CERT based on the success of the Norwegian example.

Capgemini was selected to lead the establishment of the new border-transcending CERT and embrace a much larger number of financial organizations, all with the goal of jointly identifying and defending against cyberattacks targeting their customers.

Security crosses borders

The partners began by working to bring some Danish financial institutions on board. But doing so required the creation of an association that could function in both countries while enabling the various institutions to coordinate effectively. As this would be the first international Financial CERT, the structure and formation of this entity would be new and require proof of its effectiveness before it could grow even further.

Coordinating with the organizations that would join the CERT, Capgemini managed the legal elements of the association before officially creating the entity. It was developed to meet legal requirements in both Norway and Denmark in order to bring financial institutions together more effectively regardless of their country of origin. Within the new association, any time a member suffered an attack, every partner was notified so that they could launch a coordinated response. This action could either be taken by the individual organization under attack or by all members simultaneously, enabling the CERT to respond as flexibly as possible to each new threat. With the launch of the initial Nordic CERT, Capgemini supported the financial organizations within Norway and Denmark as they introduced the first association of its kind and laid the groundwork for further growth.

Creating a foundation for a future of Scandinavian security

With the Nordic Financial CERT in place and operational, Capgemini and its partners had created a model that could be used for expansion to other countries. Following the successful proof of the first international financial security association, the partners agreed to continue their growth, first expanding to the rest of Denmark and then continuing on to Finland, Sweden, and Iceland. Every time the CERT grew, it added more resources, more knowledge, and a greater ability to respond to new threats. All members now share portal access, cybersecurity wikis, incident management, and follow up processes.

The Nordic Financial CERT gave financial institutions across a number of countries a new method of addressing security threats. With greater responsiveness and knowledge-sharing, the faith that had been flagging among customers throughout the Scandinavian region was rapidly rebuilt. Going forward, these institutions will continue to work Capgemini to make the CERT as capable as possible, ensuring that everyone throughout Scandinavia can enjoy the comfort of high-quality cybersecurity.