US banking regulator urges vigilance as ransomware attacks surge

WASHINGTON, Dec 6 (Reuters) – A top U.S. banking regulator is warning companies to ensure they have strong policies to protect against cyberattacks, saying it is seeing an increase in ransomware attacks, a- he said in a report released on Monday.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said banks must have “robust” systems in place to identify threats and vulnerabilities in their technology, and must back up key systems and records in isolation to guard against hackers who seek to disrupt the systems for a payment.

In its semi-annual risk report, the OCC also warned banks to be vigilant about dealing with third parties, noting that malicious actors are increasingly exploiting external vulnerabilities to conduct “malicious cyber activities”.

The OCC also said credit risk remains subdued for banks as loan portfolios have weathered the pandemic thanks to good risk management by banks and government relief programs. However, the OCC noted that banks are having difficulty helping customers navigate entering into some of these programs, like the Paycheck Protection Program, leaving banks with increased compliance responsibilities.

On climate, the OCC said it was continuing to work to build a new climate risk framework for the domestic banks it oversees, which it plans to roll out first with the largest and most country complexes.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by David Gregorio

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