Bank of America Sets Up WikiLeaks Damage Control Team

Monday, January 03, 2011

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Bank of America has assembled a team to focus on investigating and countering potential damage from a pending WikiLeaks data release that could prove embarrassing for the bank and some of its key executives.

WikiLeaks revealed the prospect that it was in possession of a 5GB hard drive from the computer of an executive with the banking giant back in the fall of 2009, and then hinted at the pending release of confidential documents in an interview with Forbes in the fall of 2010.

The counter-espionage team includes consultants from the Booz Allen Hamilton, and is apparently focusing on details surrounding Bank of America's acquisitions of Merill Lynch and troubled lender Countrywide.

According to The Huffington Post, a Bank of America employee was quoted by the New York Times on the creation of the damage control team stating,"If something happens, we want to be ready. You want to know what your options are before it comes out, rather than have to decide on the spot."

Bank of America also was reported to have purchased numerous internet domains made up of the names of executives followed by terms like "sucks" and "blows" in an effort to control criticism in the wake of the pending document release.

Julian Assange was quoted in an interview with IDG News Service last year on plans to release the data stating, "It's a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it."

The Bank of America reactions to the WikiLeaks disclosures should serve as a valuable lesson for corporations regarding the growing risk posed by insider threats and the value of comprehensive information security protocols.

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Michael Barbere "The Bank of America reactions to the WikiLeaks disclosures should serve as a valuable lesson for corporations regarding the growing risk posed by insider threats and the value of comprehensive information security protocols."

If BofA was engaging in inherently shady or downright illegal activity, perhaps the lesson would be don't do stuff like this and you wont have a dangerous insider be tempted with disclosing dirty laundry. No dirty laundry makes disclosure of internal documents and workings less interesting and therefore less damaging.
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