Adrian Leppard, commissioner for the City of London police, has warned that banks in the U.K. and the U.S. are highly likely to be targeted for cyber-attacks by Jihadist concerns in the near future.

Speaking to the FT (paywalled), Leppard stated that he believes the U.K. needs to ‘push back’ now, and hinted at preventative measures. He also outlined the critical problem of under-reporting of criminal activity, including cyber-attacks, by financial institutions which consider themselves very sensitive to such publicity.

“Will we ever get the financial institutions to report to us?” Leppard wondered. “I think it’s going to be difficult and I think we are going to have to think about how we encourage that.” Lepapard, the former Deputy Chief Constable of Kent Police, appointed to the CoL Commissioner’s role at the start of 2011, suggests that it may eventually be necessary to criminalise non-disclosure of financial data breaches – a controversial suggestion that promises a extended spell in Parliament if mooted.

The City of London police are cooperating with the New York District Attorney’s Office on an ad hoc basis to provide a combined response to cyber-threats, and that an information-sharing scheme will be implemented next spring.

“The agreement signed by the City of London Police and the New York District Attorney is another important step in the right direction, bringing the people who protect the Square Mile and Wall Street closer together and ensuring we are doing everything we can to thwart what has become a common enemy.”

Speaking at a joint conference on cyber security with Cyrus Vance in New York, Leppard emphasised the importance of a proactive attitude to financial cyber-threats by establishing legal and technical safeguards to ensure the security of trading platforms.

“There’ll be evidence,” Leppard added, “to suggest that all of the stock exchanges in the world have been breached in the last 10 years, Nasdaq, London Stock Exchange, all of them.”