JPMorgan Chase mega-hack was a simple two-factor auth fail

Bank bods didn't follow security 101, mayhem happened


Hackers broke into JPMorgan's network through a giant security hole left open by a failure to switch on two-factor authentication on an overlooked server.

The New York Times reports that technicians at JPM had failed to upgrade one of its network servers, meaning that access was possible without knowing a combination of a password and the value of a one-time code.

The newspaper learnt of this failure to apply industry-standard security practice from unnamed sources familiar with the details of ongoing investigations into the breach.

The working theory is that hackers used compromised access to the insecure server as a launch pad for attacks against more sensitive systems. It’s nearly always easier to hack systems once a foothold inside a targeted organisation has been obtained. Such stepping-stone attack tactics have been common hacking practice for years.

JPMorgan Chase admitted in September that the names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of 83 million account holders had been exposed in one one of the biggest data security breaches in history. 76 million of those, along with seven million small biz customers, had their private information publicly exposed as a result of the breach, which was rumoured to be the handiwork of Russian cyber-criminals.

The attack was reportedly detected by the bank's security team in late July 2014. JPMorgan Chase has played down the impact of the attack and there's no reports of widespread fraud as a result of it.

The main risk comes from the possibility that crooks might be able to produce more convincing phishing attacks using the stolen information. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022