Hackers Invaded Chase Bank System to Steal More Than Client Info

September 17, 2014         By: Gregory Sweet

Two months after hackers infiltrated JPMorgan Chase’s computer network, reports show the attack focused on exploring the bank’s internal systems rather than pirating customer information.

A recent New York Times article details how hackers gained information from roughly a million customer accounts in addition to lists of software applications installed on Chase’s computers.

This attack gained them access to high-level administrative privileges within the bank’s system.

The security breach is believed to have first occurred in June. Chase detected the infiltration in July, and Bloomberg News broke the story in late August.

Earlier in April, just two months before the attack, CEO Jamie Dimon announced the bank had boosted annual spending on cybersecurity defense to about $250 million and assigned about 1,000 workers to the task.

While private client information like names, addresses and phone numbers were compromised, more sensitive information like social security numbers were not believed to have been accessed.

JPMorgan spokeswoman Kristin Lemkau stated the bank had “not seen any unusual fraud activity” but there is a lingering concern the attack may lay groundwork for future security breaches through other entry points to the Chase website.

Because no fraudulent transactions were reported, bank and government investigators believe the attacks could be state-sponsored espionage. As was the case when first reported, Russian hackers are suspected of retaliating against Western sanctions in response to recent actions by Russia against Ukraine.

This past weekend Chase notified clients over their mobile banking app and on their website of the security breach.

As is always the case when personal information is leaked, affected customers are urged to monitor for suspicious activity and be on the lookout for phishing scams.

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A recent Washington Post article raises concerns over the timeliness of such announcements to possible victims of cyber-attacks.

While institutions need time to review evidence and patch areas of compromised security, customers also need prompt notification so they may review recent activity across multiple bank and credit card accounts.

The alert to Chase clients came two months after the story first broke and three months after the first documented attack.