Big banks and other financial firms are spending 15 per cent more this year to defend computer networks from cybercriminals, and the pandemic and work-from-home arrangements are probably spurring further increases, according to a survey.
As reported by Bloomberg News, average spending per employee was budgeted at $2,691, up from $2,337 in 2019, according to the poll conducted by Deloitte & Touche LLP and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, an industry group known as FS-ISAC.
It said some firms have budgeted as much as $3,322 per employee for cybersecurity, up from the $3,000 maximum last year.
That would translate to about $850m annually for JPMorgan Chase & Co. and almost $900m for Wells Fargo & Co., based on their June headcount figures, as the biggest banks spend more than smaller rivals on protecting their networks.
For Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., it would mean about $700m each.
Spending on the problem has been growing for at least four years as the sector remains the top target of cybercriminals.
Attacks trying to trick bank employees into clicking on malicious links jumped in the first quarter, with criminals attempting to take advantage of fear and confusion caused by the coronavirus pandemic, FS-ISAC said in May.
The Deloitte-FS-ISAC survey was carried out from late 2019 to January 2020, and 53 financial firms took part, including banks, insurance companies and non-bank lenders.