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04 Sep 14. Big Bank Hack: FBI and Secret Service Scoping Financial Cyberattacks. A US Federal Bureau of Investigation spokesman said Wednesday the agency is working with the Secret Service to determine the “scope” of reported cyberattacks against several financial institutions.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Russian hackers struck JPMorgan Chase and another bank earlier this month. A subsequent report in the New York Times said the attacks hit JPMorgan Chase and four other U.S. financial institutions. The Times reported that “gigabytes” of information were stolen, including customer account information. A JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman did not confirm the attacks, saying that, “companies of our size unfortunately experience cyberattacks nearly every day. We have multiple layers of defense to counteract any threats and constantly monitor fraud levels.” Representatives for Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citigroup — also frequent targets for hackers — could not be immediately reached for comment. FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said via email that combating cyber threats is a top priority for the government, and the agency constantly works with U.S. companies to fight attacks. Media reports speculated the attacks could be in retaliation due to sanctions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine, but the motives remain unclear. Quoting an anonymous source, Bloomberg wrote that one of the attacks was executed via a zero-day vulnerability in one of the bank’s websites. A zero-day flaw is one that attackers are exploiting but for which there is no fix. (Source: Cyber Security Intelligence/computerworld)
04 Sep 14. NSA has 850 billion pieces of searchable metadata. The National Security Agency (NSA) is reported to have developed its own search engine to sift through the billions of phone calls, emails and other electronic communications it harvests and monitors from around the world. Called ICREACH, the engine operates rather like Google’s search system in that it `spiders’ and analyses data in multiple ways, allowing a hashed search database to be created. According to The Intercept newswire, ICREACH has allowed various US agencies – including the FBI – to sift through more than 850 billion pieces of metadata that the NSA has collated down the years. The `spidering’ of data – unlike Google – is in both directions, meaning that users can `reverse lookup’ data relationships, allowing the `creator’ of a piece of data to be cross-referenced to their associates, in much the same way that BT/Post Office used to offer a reverse lookup telephone directory service in the UK until the 1980s. That service – which was withdrawn on privacy grounds – allowed a user to give a phone number to an enquiry operator and the name of the person to be given. The NSA, of course, has no such privacy limitations, since ICREACH is reportedly used exclusively by US government agency staff. This means, says The Intercept, that data on people around the world can be searched and analysed – even where no wrongdoing has been logged. SCMagazineUK.com notes that ICREACH seems to be a separate operation from the so-called 215 database that the NSA uses to store information on phone calls by American citizens. The database was named after section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the NSA says allowed for the creation of the system. Independent analyst Graham Cluley, in his analysis of ICREACH, says the database includes records obtained through Executive Order 12333, which is the main program used by the NSA to collect its data and is not subject to US Congress oversight. “Started in 2007, ICREACH was originally intended to internally share data collected from several networks, for tracking suspect’s movements, reveal political or religion affiliations and associate networks. However, according to a memo from 2010, the program