Bank Watch

Bank of America tech chief says cyberattacks ‘growing exponentially’

Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, discusses cybersecurity in a video interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday. Bessant, who is based in Charlotte, said the pace and intensity of such attacks is ‘growing exponentially.’
Cathy Bessant, chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America, discusses cybersecurity in a video interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday. Bessant, who is based in Charlotte, said the pace and intensity of such attacks is ‘growing exponentially.’

Bank of America’s Charlotte-based head of technology and operations said this week that cyberattacks are rising and that it’s difficult to stay ahead of criminals behind such assaults.

In a Bloomberg video interview, Cathy Bessant noted the bank continues to have an unlimited budget for protecting itself from cyberattacks. CEO Brian Moynihan has said cybersecurity is the only area where the bank has no budget constraints.

“The attacks are all of the above,” Bessant said Wednesday. “Software attacks, network and infrastructure attacks, denial-of-service attacks, other issues around the protection of data.”

“I think the issue is the pace and frequency and intensity of what I call ‘incoming’ (attacks) is growing exponentially,” she said.

Bessant, a direct report to Moynihan, oversees a unit whose responsibilities range from cybersecurity to enabling the bank to roll out new technologies for consumers. The unit employs approximately 100,000 across the company’s footprint, including roughly 6,000 in Charlotte.

Bessant said Bank of America spends about $3 billion a year developing new technology, including to bolster its cyber defenses. That amount, double what it used to be, helps the bank ensure it has the best cybersecurity talent, she said.

“Talent is as important as dollars in this space,” she said.

“(It’s) very tough to keep ahead of those who would do us harm.”

Deon Roberts: 704-358-5248, @DeonERoberts

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