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JPMorgan Chase Breach: 76 Million Households Compromised

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JPMorgan Chase Breach: 76 Million Households CompromisedWith the recent data security breach at JPMorgan Chase, one of the world’s largest financial services firms, the data of roughly 76 million households and seven million small businesses around the world has been compromised.

According to the New York-based banking company, the compromised data and information relating to users includes names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and internal JPMorgan Chase information.  The breach was reported in a standard regulatory filing, where the bank stated that it had not experienced “any unusual customer fraud” related to the incident—until now.

While JPMorgan Chase is cooperating with law-enforcement officials, the breach, which was first disclosed in August, is still very much under investigation.  Banking and law-enforcement agencies are currently pursuing a lead that suggests that Russian-based hackers are the guilty party that broke into JPMorgan Chase’s computer systems.  Additional banks may also have been targeted in the attack.

Even as the Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledges the attack, the fact remains that similar cyber attacks, resulting in the theft of massive amounts of private consumer data, are on the rise both nationally and globally.  Whether in banking, healthcare, or retail, private data and information appears to be continually under attack.  The U.S. Secret Service asserts they are “working to determine the scope of recently reported cyber attacks against several American financial institutions.”

In context, this JPMorgan Chase cyber attack is among the largest intrusions ever to occur.  It was bad enough when retail institutions were being hit. JPMorgan Chase is the largest bank in the United States…  If consumer confidence in corporate digital operations wasn’t already shaken to its core, this may be the straw—nay, the brick—that breaks the camel’s back.

Once again, we find that the worst part of the breach was not so much that it occurred, but rather how long it took to be discovered/reported. In this case, criminals had access to consumer financial information for months, unbeknownst to the consumers themselves. Not only does this shake consumer confidence in the bank, it also worsens the total cost of the data breach. JP Morgan will now have to cover any and all unauthorized purchases during this time period as well as provide new cards to all affected customers.

It remains to be seen exactly how this breach transpired, who’s at fault, and whether it could have been prevented. What we do know is that the negative effects of this incident could have been mitigated through the use of a more proactive security strategy. AP Writer Alex Veiga notes:

That means consumers and business owners need to be more vigilant than ever, making sure to pore over their financial statements each month for any sign of suspicious activity. People also should be more leery than ever of unsolicited phone calls from purported bank representatives, emails fishing for their financial information and even uninvited guests knocking at their doors.

There is, of course, a better way for businesses to identify suspicious activity in a way that doesn’t involve manually pouring over financial statements each month: user activity monitoring. Until more organizations adopt this approach, we can expect to see these types of stories appear with increasing regularity.

Are you one of the millions affect by this breach? What precautions are you taking to protect your information? Let us know in the comment section.