Tag Archives: JPMorgan Chase

US Banks Hit by Largest Cyber Attack Ever (But Won’t Admit It)

Last week’s cyber attacks against US banks were more widespread than reported. In fact, it may have been the largest attack ever, industry experts say. According to Radware, a security firm that has investigated cyber intrusions on behalf of financial firms, roughly a half-dozen institutions endured digital assaults at around the same time, Tuesday. But only JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and BB&T (BBT) have so far confirmed the incident.

“If you have a leak in a boat, you can build a bigger boat so the leaks won’t mathematically sink your boat. That’s been fundamentally the process many folks have been taking.”

Carl Herberger


The attacks followed a threat earlier Tuesday by the al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, a group that has claimed responsibility for a series of incursions since September that have bogged down websites at some of the nation’s biggest banks and prevented customers from accessing their accounts. Tuesday’s attacks “were the largest attacks we’ve seen to date in scale,” says Carl Herberger, vice president of security solutions at Radware.

The group, which has vowed to continue its campaign until YouTube takes down a trailer for an anti-Muslim film, said it would target JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America (BAC), Citibank (NYSE:C), PNC Financial (PNC), Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB), Union Bank, BB&T (BBT) and Capital One (COF) for another round of assaults, AmericanBanker.com reports.

“The one that was advertised to the world was Chase, but I can tell you that almost on an hourly basis banks were being attacked, which is a very substantial campaign.”

“If you actually measure the response time of some of these banks that are being attacked, you can see that they are under duress,” Herberger says. Adding: “Most of them labored for hours on end with little or no response.”

Herberger declined to say which banks beside Chase weathered attacks on Tuesday, citing confidentiality agreements between Radware and its clients.

BB&T spokeswoman Merrie Tolbert said in an email that the Winston-Salem, N.C., bank “experienced intermittent outages yesterday” but said the bank was able to restore service quickly. Daniel Weidman, a spokesman for Union Bank, said in an email the bank’s website also “experienced intermittent outages” on Tuesday before resuming regular operation.

Citigroup, Fifth Third and Capital One spokespeople said their companies’ websites functioned normally on Tuesday. Bank of America’s websites also continued to operate without incident, according to a source close to the company.

“If you have a leak in a boat, you can build a bigger boat so the leaks won’t mathematically sink your boat. That’s been fundamentally the process many folks have been taking. We see few instances of fixing the leak, “Herberger says.

While banks continue to take steps to strengthen security, hackers continue to hone their capabilities and can outmatch banks’ best efforts to deter them, experts say.



Can Be A Diversion

IT employees at banks are dealing with malicious coders at all ends.

Depositories are being targeted by both denial of service attacks, in which botnets bombard a financial services company’s website in order to shut it down and disrupt services to customer; and invasive malware that infects customers’ sometimes insecure devices and compromises their accounts.

Often denial of service attacks “can be a diversion,” says Dave Ostertag, a computer security expert and a global investigation manager with Verizon. At the same time, criminals might be trying to extract financial information from a bank using a variety of different techniques, he says.

There are, of course, prescriptions banks can follow in order to block some fraudulent money transfers.

Sergio Fidalgo, BBVA Compass‘ chief information officer, says his bank hedges against instances of high-tech theft by inserting people and processes into transactions. “There is not a single point of failure in which we rely on from a security perspective,” he says. “It’s not just about detecting, preventing and fighting the attacks… we have procedures that have to be strictly met when we talk about money leaving the bank.”

Human beings, however, can only catch so much, says Barak Eilam, president of Israeli tech vendor NICE Systems for the Americas.

Eilam stresses that though computers can only do so much, they certainly pare down what could be indomitable threats to banks by flagging suspicious activity. “Because of banks’ scale, complexity, and sophistication … this is where technology comes in place,” Eilam says. “Technology helps.”

Even then, people will always be susceptible to social engineering attacks in which hackers pick up just enough information about a person to fool a bank employee into moving a victim’s money, or worse.

Still, as Herberger sees it, banks continue to play catch-up:

“How is it we’ve gotten to the point where we’ve had the largest financial institutions, the most handsome security departments and all of the regulators, where there was a risk to begin with and numerous vulnerabilities that are exploitable, and yet we haven’t been able to resolve it?”

Good question. And still there are some who don’t understand why there’s a lack of confidence in the financial markets?

FULL POST@AmericanBanker.com

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, Laws and Regulations, National Economic Politics, Technology

New Econparody Song About “Guess Who”

It’s always a pleasure to introduce new songs from versuplus.com. Their latest release is called “The Ballad of Diamond Jim,”  and is  a collaboration with acclaimed country econosinger/songwriter Merle Hazard and the PBS NewsHour economics team. “Diamond Jim” is an original econosong about banking regulation. It has – of course – nothing to do with the famous CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, also know as “the most dangerous man in america”.

“Our Game is diseconomy of scale. The key is to be too big to fail.”

Diamond Jim

You may watch and listen to the song  (with lyrics) at www.verusplus.com,

or you can download the video at youtube.

And here’s your bonus!

The PBS NewsHour has done an extraordinary 12-minute companion video – featuring former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson – that analyzes the lyric.

You can find it here:

The Ballad of a Would-Be, Too-Big-to-Fail Banker

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, Laws and Regulations, National Economic Politics

Global Economic Growth Drop To Lowest Level In Two Years

Well, almost. According to the latest PMI survey by Markit, the pace of global economic growth slowed to a 21-month low in April, and not merely due to an increased rate of contraction in Japan following the earthquake.

Some signs also appeared that inflationary pressures may have begun to ease.

Markit Economic Research

The JPMorgan Global PMI, compiled by Markit, indicated the weakest rate of growth of the global economy since the recovery began in August 2009. Although much of the deterioration could be linked to the Japanese earthquake, the pace of expansion also slowed outside of Japan.

The Global PMI, which measures private sector output growth across manufacturing and services, fell for a second successive month from February’s five-year high, down from 54.5 in March to 51.8 in April.

The steep deterioration in the rate of growth has largely reflected the disruptions to business caused by the Japanese earthquake of March 11.

However, even excluding Japan, the PMI surveys indicated the weakest growth for seven months in April, signalling a slowdown of approximately half of the magnitude that the index including Japan has registered since the quake struck. Reassuringly, despite the decline, the index excluding Japan is still consistent with global gross domestic product (GDP) rising at an annual rate of 2.5%–3.0% at the start of the second quarter, having signalled a rate of approximately 3.5% during the first quarter, including Japan, the quarterly GDP growth rate signaled in April was approximately 1,5% – 2,0%, the report says.

“Most notably, among the world’s major G4 (developed) and BRIC (emerging) economies, a steep cooling in the rate of growth in the US non-manufacturing sector has been reported in the past two months, and growth also cooled in the UK, China and Brazil in April. The weakness is not universal, however, with the Euro zone continuing to grow at a strong pace, buoyed by surging growth in France and Germany, while India continue to boom and Russia saw robust growth.“

New Orders Disappear

New business growth in the US slumped to the weakest since August 2009, and China has also reported only modest growth in recent months – most likely linked to ongoing efforts by the authorities to cool the overheating domestic economy.

“The weaker growth of new business is perhaps the greatest worry in respect to future output and employment growth, and suggests that the rate of global economic growth may have peaked in the first quarter. There are many uncertainties, however, notably the extent to which manufacturing supply chains outside of Japan may have been affected by the earthquake, and therefore hit production and order book growth. Against this, though, is the fact that rates of growth have slowed sharply in both manufacturing and services across the world in the past two months, and it is the service sector which has seen the strongest deceleration and which, in theory, should be little-affected by supply chain disruptions,“ chief economist Cris Williamson writes.

This has – of course – a severe impact on employment and job creations.

It doesn’t look good, at all…

Here’s a copy of the report.

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics