A cyber-attack on JPMorgan Chase in 2014 affected the accounts of seven million businesses and 76 million households, making it one of the biggest ever intrusion in the banking industry. Hackers managed to go deep into JPMorgan`s computer systems, penetrating more than 90 servers. In late July 2014 when JPMorgan realized that its systems had been compromised, the hackers already had administrative privilege to access the many of the bank`s computer servers. This attack came at a time when Americans had lost confidence in the digital operations of companies in the U.S. Data breaches have not been limited to the banking sector; retailers such as Home Depot and Target have suffered significant data breaches in the past. In 2013, private information of approximately 40 million cardholders and an additional 70 million others was compromised at Target. Similarly, a cyber-attack on Home Depot affected 56 million cards (Silver-Greenberg, Matthew and Nicole 1).
However, the magnitude of JPMorgan`s breach cannot be compared to that of the retail industry. Being the largest bank in the U.S., the financial information contained in JP Morgan`s computer systems is far much broad and potentially includes more sensitive personal data. In the wake of the data breach, JPMorgan`s executives were quick to reassure their customers noting that only one million accounts had been compromised. However, it was not until July that the severity of this intrusion became evident with the bank executives struggling to convince their customer base that both their money and financial information remains safe (Silver-Greenberg, Matthew and Nicole 1).
It appears that the cyber criminals managed to collect a list of programs and applications that JPMorgan uses in its computers. They then used this list as a road map to analyze the loopholes in each web application and program, as a way of gaining entry into the bank`s systems. The hackers who are located in an overseas country managed to gain access to personal details including names, phone numbers, addresses and emails of JPMorgan customers. In its 2014 regulatory filing, JPMorgan noted that despite the data breach, there was no indication that account holders` data including their social security numbers and passwords had been stolen. The bank further noted no instance of fraud involving the use of stolen account holders` information had been reported. Before this data breach occurred in July 2014, banks were regarded to be relatively safe from cyber-attacks because of their huge investment in securing their systems and training their security personnel and no attack had ever penetrated a bank`s computer systems (Silver-Greenberg, Matthew and Nicole 1).
The case of JPMorgan is an indication that companies in Wall Street are exposed to cybercrime. The dangers of going digital are on the rise. In 2011, cyber criminals managed to infiltrate the systems of NASDAQ stock market but failed to enter the part of the system that deals with trades. JPMorgan CEO notes, whereas companies are making major strides in securing their systems, cybercriminals across the globe are also strengthening their capacity. According to investigators, the fact that the hackers were not interested in stealing any money from accounts held by the bank`s customers may be an indication that the hackers were sponsored by a foreign government. As at October 2014, JPMorgan had not determined how the attackers had managed to penetrate deeply into the bank`s systems. It would take long for the bank to transfer its applications and programs and renegotiate its licenses with its suppliers. This may potentially give the hackers sufficient time to further explore the bank`s systems for more vulnerabilities that could potentially give them access to the bank`s systems in the future. In light of the increased online threats, JPMorgan plans to allocate $250 million each year to digital security. However, the bank faces high staff turnover for its security staff, and by 2014, many more were expected to leave the bank (Silver-Greenberg, Matthew and Nicole 1).
Silver-Greenberg, Jessica, Matthew Goldstein, and Nicole Perlroth. “Jpmorgan Chase Hacking Affects 76 Million Households”. DealBook N.P., 2014. Web. 4 Aug. 2015.<http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/10/02/jpmorgan-discovers-further-cyber-security-issues/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=2>