[SIGCIS-Members] New Book: “Cyber and the City: Securing London’s Banks in the Computer Age”

Ashley Sweetman ashleymarksweetman at gmail.com
Tue Aug 30 01:20:51 PDT 2022

Hi SIGCIS friends and peers,

If you’ll excuse the self-promotion, I wanted to let everyone know about
the publication of my first book: “Cyber and the City: Securing London’s
Banks in the Computer Age.” It has been published by Springer in its
History of Computing series, and is largely based upon my PhD thesis which
I wrote in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London.

In a line, “Cyber and the City” uses newly-released and previously unseen
documents from the archives of the banks themselves (Barclays, Lloyds, Bank
of England etc), to explore the history and origins of computer security in
the UK financial sector, through the individual institutions and the
payment infrastructure they created (SWIFT, CHAPS, etc).

I’ve shared the blurb below in case it is of interest, and hope you all
have a lovely week.




Cyber security is the greatest risk faced by financial institutions today.
Ever since the major London banks purchased their first computers in the
early 1960s, they have had to balance their dependence on those machines
with the need to secure their operations and retain the trust of their
Technological change in the second half of the 20th century prompted UK
banks to reevaluate their function as trusted protectors of wealth. In the
City of London, historically the capital's business and commerce hub, the
huge clearing banks employed newly commercialised computers―the processing
power of which could transform the highly clerical clearing and settlement
process. What unfolded over the following three decades was a relentless
modernisation drive. Revolutionising and permanently altering the speed and
scale at which the UK’s financial sector functioned, this rapid
modernisation thrust computer (hardware and software) security into the
consciousness of bank executives and clients alike.

Focusing on the period 1960 to 1990, this book uses newly released and
previously unexplored archival material to trace the origins of cyber
security in the UK financial sector.

Topics and features:

   - Describes how institutions managed the evolving challenge of computer
   security in the second half of the 20th century
   - Demonstrates continuity in banks' views of security through the prism
   of confidentiality, integrity and availability, and the concept of
   - Presents case studies of bank collaboration on computer security
   through creation of payment systems like SWIFT and CHAPS
   - Outlines the shift from focusing on physical security measures to
   technical network-protection measures
   - Explores the relationship between banks and the UK Government as bank
   operations became dependent on computer and network technology

*Dr Ashley Sweetman*

“Cyber and the City”

*Ashley Sweetman*


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