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Issue #22 | February 26, 2019

Recently, from the Cleveland Fed

  • Cleveland Fed cybersecurity team tackles hacker threats

    Do longer expansions lead to more severe recessions?

    No, say Cleveland Fed researchers in a new Economic Commentary. Using both aggregate and state-level data, the researchers find that deeper recessions are often followed by stronger recoveries, while longer and stronger expansions are not followed by deeper recessions. Read their findings.

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    Columbus economy is stable and strengthening

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    Toledo sees an improved economy

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    In case you missed it…

    Want a glimpse at some content you may have missed in 2018? Last month’s collection of 11 numbers points to Cleveland Fed research, tools, speeches, and info on topics like cybersecurity, mortgage lending, urban manufacturing, and more. Check out “The year in retrospect.”

Ask the Expert

Question:

The Federal Reserve’s Cybersecurity Analytics Support Team is responsible for monitoring cybersecurity threats that could affect financial institutions. What happens when news of an attack breaks?

Chad:

There are a lot of things that happen. My team works to understand the impact of the attack: Is it impacting banks? Is it impacting a prevalent technology that many banks use? Who is the attack impacting, and how might the attack spread?

We then rate the attack using the nation’s cybersecurity rating scale, which we tailored to the financial industry. It’s 1 through 5—1 being baseline and 5 being emergency. Five is a pretty hard threshold to reach because it involves the likelihood of catastrophic damage to critical operations resulting in, for example, a potential collapse of the banking sector. Most attacks fall between 1 and 3. We routinely perform ongoing monitoring of the attack, adjusting our assessment and rating as we learn more through our analysis, discussions with experts, and technical details reported through other sources. We might initially rate an attack high because we need more information and then adjust its rating down later when more information is known.

Here’s a recent example: One Saturday, I read that ransomware was hitting systems and picking up speed in the UK, impacting the National Health Service. Our Cybersecurity Analytics Support Team called a teleconference to discuss what was being impacted (nothing in the United States). The event ended up being an unpatched Windows vulnerability that affected several hundred thousand computers across the world. Our team knew that, generally speaking, financial institutions are up to date on patching—or running changes to update, fix, or improve a computer program. Still, we worked Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to monitor the situation, assess our ratings, and communicate what was going on.

Depending on the rating we assign to an attack, the team coordinates with a group at the Board of Governors [of the Federal Reserve System] to determine who needs to discuss the potential impact. We also will bring in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, as appropriate.

Every day, we’re looking at potential threats. Our goal is to understand threat actors and their capabilities, active campaigns, and overall intent in order to assess the potential impact on the financial sector.

Chad Siegrist

Chad Siegrist

is a banking supervisor who manages the Federal Reserve’s Cybersecurity Analytics Support Team, which supports financial institutions by monitoring and analyzing the cyberthreats they face.

Graphic of the Month

More than a game, it’s a teaching tool!

Would you trade an orange (una naranja) for a coconut (un coco)? If you’re Robbie, a shipwrecked boy who needs a sail (una vela) to repair his boat, fruit isn’t the answer. Help him (Ayuda a Robbie) barter to turn his oranges into a much-needed item. Play online now—in English or en Español

Play our most popular online game!

By the Numbers

On the Calendar

  • March 5, 2019

    Milton Friedman Lecture series at Marietta College: Cleveland Fed Senior Vice President Mark Schweitzer presents “Opioids and the Labor Market” (Marietta, OH)

  • March 25, 2019

    FedTalk: The Opioid Epidemic and Its Effects on the Labor Market (Cleveland, OH)
    Meet and greet begins at 5:30 pm, program at 6:00 pm. Q&A to follow.

  • 2019 Federal Reserve Community Development Research Conference

    May 9–10, 2019

    2019 Federal Reserve Community Development Research Conference (Washington DC)

  • Policy Summit 2019

    June 19–21, 2019

    Policy Summit 2019: Connecting People & Places to Opportunity (Cincinnati, OH)

From around the Federal Reserve System

Ready for a Money Adventure?

Sniff out cool features of US currency with Buck, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ time-traveling dog, as he makes his way through historical events depicted on our nation’s cash. Money Adventure, an interactive smartphone and tablet app available in English and Spanish, is part of the Board’s Currency Education Program. Learn more at uscurrency.gov, and download the app in the App Store.

Ready for a Money Adventure?

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