Cyber-focused banking regulator may step down

New York’s top banking regulator, one of the most vocal regulators discussing stricter banking cybersecurity measures, will likely step down next year, according to multiple reports.

Benjamin Lawsky, New York’s banking supervisor, has recently been exploring private sector job opportunities.

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Nothing’s final, insisted Matthew Anderson, a spokesman for Lawsky.

“He loves his job and is very busy doing it to the best of his ability each day,” he said. “He hasn’t decided on his plans for the future.”

In recent weeks, Lawsky has pressed the financial sector for more information about how they monitor cyber risks. Lawsky is considering applying a version of New York’s proposed bitcoin standards to banks if he finds the industry’s cyber practices lacking.

New York’s bitcoin regulations, which are still under consideration, heavily emphasize cybersecurity and would require companies using bitcoins to undergo background checks, keep detailed records of bitcoin transactions and report any instances of fraud.

Lawsky has been in his position since 2011, when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed him to head the newly formed Department of Financial Services.

During his tenure, Lawsky has gained a reputation for reaching large settlements with some of Wall Street’s biggest names, often moving ahead of federal regulators.

In recent months, Lawsky identified cyberterrorism as the top issue for his department in the coming year.

Following a massive breach at JPMorgan that exposed the information of 76 million households, Lawsky wrote to financial institutions, requesting all information on how they evaluate the cybersecurity of third-party vendors.

“It is abundantly clear that, in many respects, a firm’s level of cybersecurity is only as good as the cybersecurity of its vendors," he said in the letter, obtained by Reuters.