Introduction – The
following vulnerability analysis is about the cyber-attack that took place in
June 2014 on JP Morgan Chase Bank and was not discovered until July 2014. The
attack was revealed in September 2014. The attackers performed phishing attacks
to steal the information of almost 76 million households and 7 million small
businesses account holders such as their names, addresses, phone numbers and email
addresses. According to the bank, social security number or password of account
holders were not compromised. This information breach is considered as one of
the biggest information breach in the history.
Description of the
Attack – The attack on JP Morgan Chase Bank in
2014 begun in June and was disclosed in September which compromised the
customer information such as their names, emails, addresses and phone numbers. The
security team of JP Morgan discovered the attack in July 2014. Bank officials
claimed that no money was taken out of account holders accounts. They also
claimed that the stolen information wasn’t misused anywhere. But the intensity
of attack was so much that it shook all the Wall Street Institutions. The
attackers got the list of programs and applications that run on Bank’s systems.
And they searched for the point of weakness into the system from where they can
break in the system.
hackers penetrated deep in the computer systems of the bank and attacked more
than 90 servers. Hackers obtained uppermost levels of administrative rights of
those servers and stole all the customer information1.
attacked bank’s system through a big security hole in its networks. The hole or
vulnerability was caused by failure to shift on to Multi-factor authentication
on an ignored server. Engineers at JP Morgan failed in upgrading one of the
network servers and that gave attackers an easy access without knowing mixture
of passwords and using only one-time code. Hackers used a common hacking
practice which was to first search for the network vulnerability to enter into
the system and then using the insecure server as a control pad to attack the
delicate systems. Because it is easier to attack the systems once any system in
the network is compromised2.
whole attack was first rumored to be carried out by the Russian hackers in
support of the Russian Government. But in 2015 US federal investigations reports
showed that four hackers were involved in the attack and two of them viz Gery
Shalon and Ziv Orenstein were Israelis and they were arrested there3.
Mitigation steps – The
cyber-attack on JP Morgan Chase Bank was the biggest data breach of the history
which compromised 83 million customer personal information. According to the
bank officials no login information of the customers such as social security
number and password were compromised. But biggest concern was the privacy of
customer’s data. Bank official also said that no money was taken out of
customer accounts. But it was possible that attackers could sell the data to
someone who could misuse it. They could misuse it by sending fake emails to
customers and try to trick them into giving their login credentials. This
practice is called as Spear Phishing attack4.
prevent from these attacks customers should keep on checking their accounts,
read all the transactions very carefully and read the credit statement every
month4. Customers should not give any login information to anyone.
Customers should keep changing their passwords and passwords must be strong.
Nowadays with the biometric security in trend, it should be made compulsory to customers
to switch to biometric security types.
are spending a lot of money on digital security nowadays. Banks must keep their
network servers up to date. They should install firewalls and have anti-virus
software to know of any attack coming and not let it reach the servers. All the
vulnerabilities in the network should be fixed.
New York Times also suggested customers to increase an extra layer of security
which is “security freeze”. It is considered as the powerful tool against theft
as it stops someone attempting to open a new account in customer’s name. When a
customer’s reports freeze, the three credit bureaus viz Equifax, Experian and
TransUnion will not release customer’s report to anyone. The process is little hassle
because to lift the freeze, customer needs new PIN and needs to apply for
another new credit card4.