JPMorgan Chase and four other US banks hit by sophisticated cyber attack

Various US banks have fallen victim to a widespread cyber attack that was highly coordinated and resulted in the pilfering of information including account details.

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The attack took place earlier this month and targeted JPMorgan Chase as well as four others, according to four people briefed on the investigation, and the FBI has so far come up short when looking for a reason behind the hack.

“Companies of our size unfortunately experience cyber attacks nearly every day,” Patricia Wexler, a JPMorgan spokeswoman, told the New York Times. “We have multiple layers of defense to counteract any threats and constantly monitor fraud levels.”

Two people briefed on the matter explained that hackers broke into the computer networks of certain banks and stole checking and savings account information from clients.

Bloomberg, which first reported attacks, speculated that it was the work of Russian hackers and security experts as well as US government officials are yet to indicate whether they drew the same conclusion.

As for the motivation behind the attack, three people familiar with the situation stated it is not an attempt to disrupt services and it is instead part of a financial or intelligence-gathering effort.

Joshua Campbell, a spokesman for the FBI, stated that it is working with the Secret Service to work out the full scope of the attacks and added “combating cyber threats and criminals remains a top priority for the United States government”.

Most banking hacks are financially motivated and as such as a political motive is unlikely though some have pointed to various politically motivated distributed denial of service [DDoS] attacks that have emanated from Iran and targeted banking institutions.

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What's clear is that the FBI and security companies are exploring every avenue with nothing being ruled out.

Image Credit: Flickr (Kristen Cavanaugh)