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US Banks Targeted In ‘Co-Ordinated’ Cyber Attacks – FBI Investigates

The FBI and Secret Service investigate reports that a number US banks suffered co-ordinated cyber attacks

On by Tom Jowitt 0

A number of US banks suffered “co-ordinated” cyber attacks this month.  The FBI and Secret Service are investigating the attacks, some of which were reportedly carried out by Russian hackers.

The issue of cyber attacks on financial institutions is an ongoing problem, with the banks themselves often reluctant to speak publicly about attacks against their systems. But JPMorgan Chase & Co has been hit according to a Reuters report. The severity of the incident isn’t known, but a JPMorgan investigation is reportedly currently underway.

Banking giants humbled

Bank finance © Paul Fleet Shutterstock 2012JPMorgan is one of the world’s largest banks, but it refused to comment on the attack when asked by Reuters. “Companies of our size unfortunately experience cyber attacks nearly every day,” spokesman Brian Marchiony was quoted as saying. “We have multiple, layers of defense to counteract any threats and constantly monitor fraud levels.”

JPMorgan was first identified by Bloomberg as one of the four US banks to be hit. However it reported that gigabytes of customer data had been compromised, which could lead to customer accounts being drained.

The FBI is investigating whether Russian hackers were to blame, in retaliation for Western economic sanctions against Russia over its involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.

The New York Times also reported that JPMorgan and four others were hit in a series of coordinated and sophisticated attacks. It also reported that gigabytes of data, including checking and savings account information, had been compromised. It said that a number of security firms have been brought in to conduct forensic studies of the penetrated computer networks.

“We are working with the United States Secret Service to determine the scope of recently reported cyber attacks against several American financial institutions,” FBI spokesman Joshua Campbell was quoted by Reuters as saying in a statement late on Wednesday.

Ongoing Problem

This is not the first time that JPMorgan Chase has been hit.

In December 2013, JPMorgan Chase warned 465,000 of its UCard customers about a breach of its systems. It said personal data of a number of its prepaid card customers’ could have been compromised. It was also one of the US banks that was targeted in 2013 and 2012, when a number of US banks had their customer-facing systems knocked offline for prolonged periods by powerful distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

British banks were advised last October by the Bank of England to test their resilience to cyber attacks. That warning came after cyber attacks on Barclays and Santander highlighted the danger facing banks.

And two months ago the Bank of England announced a scheme to create better stress tests amongst financial institutions, to see whether their ability to cope with super-sophisticated cyber attacks is up to snuff.

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Tom Jowitt
Author: Tom Jowitt
Freelance TechWeek Reporter
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