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(Reuters) — The European Central Bank is preparing banks for a possible Russian-sponsored cyberattack as tensions with Ukraine mount, two people with knowledge of the matter said, as the region braces for the financial fallout of any conflict.
The stand-off between Russia and Ukraine has rattled Europe's political and business leaders, who fear an invasion that would inflict damage on the entire region.
Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron shuttled from Moscow to Kyiv in a bid to act as a mediator after Russia massed troops near Ukraine.
Now the European Central Bank, led by former French minister Christine Lagarde and which has oversight of Europe's biggest lenders, is on alert for the threat of cyberattacks on banks launched from Russia, the people said.
While the regulator had been focused on ordinary scams that boomed during the pandemic, the Ukraine crisis has diverted its attention to cyberattacks launched from Russia, said one of the people, adding that the ECB has questioned banks about their defenses.
Banks were conducting cyber war games to test their ability to fend off an attack, the person said.
The ECB, which has singled out addressing cybersecurity vulnerability as one of its priorities, declined to comment.
Its concerns are mirrored around the world.
The New York Department of Financial Services issued an alert to financial institutions in late January, warning of retaliatory cyberattacks should Russia invade Ukraine and trigger U.S. sanctions, according to Thomson Reuters' Regulatory Intelligence.