In a windowless bunker here, a wall of monitors tracked incoming attacks — 267,322 in the last 24 hours, according to one hovering dial, or about three every second — as a dozen analysts stared at screens filled with snippets of computer code.
Pacing around, overseeing the stream of warnings, was a former Delta Force soldier who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan before shifting to a new enemy: cyberthieves.
“This is not that different from terrorists and drug cartels,” Matt Nyman, the command center’s creator, said as he surveyed his squadron of Mastercard employees. “Fundamentally, threat networks operate in similar ways.”
Cybercrime is one of the world’s fastest-growing and most lucrative industries. At least $445 billion was lost last year, up around 30 percent from just three years earlier, a global economic study found, and the Treasury Department recently designated cyberattacks as one of the greatest risks to the American financial sector. For banks and payment companies, the fight feels like a war — and they’re responding with an increasingly militarized approach.