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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

We have an intruder in the house

Recently, the Washington Post reported that on September 19, a former sniper, jumped the fence at the White House, burst through the front door and ran 130 feet into the East Room. The East Room is used for events and receptions.


The intruder, who had previous arrests for carrying deadly weapons, had a knife. Secret service men tackled the intruder before he got any further. He is now facing  criminal charges.


President Obama was not in the White House at the time but the security breach raised a howl in the US Congress causing the head of the Secret Service to resign.


A parallel breach recently hit America’s biggest bank JP Morgan Chase. Just like the White House,  the bank with its huge investments in security devices  is  supposedly one of the most protected.  


According to the New York Times, hackers began intruding into JP Morgan in June but were not discovered until July.


As required by law, JP Morgan Chase has filed disclosures about the cyber breaches.


The New York Times, quoting  JP Morgan Chase’s disclosures,  reported that as many as 76 million households and seven million small businesses have been compromised.


The New York Times further reported: “Operating overseas, the hackers gained access to the names, addresses, phone numbers and emails of JP Morgan account holders.”


Bank executives were quick to contain the fallout reassuring its customers that “no money had been taken”  and that “there is no evidence of fraud involving the use of customer information”.  


Still, the New York Times concluded: “Even if no customer financial information was taken, the apparent breadth and depth of the JP Morgan attack shows how vulnerable Wall Street institutions are to cybercrime.”


Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, agreed. “..(C)yberattacks are growing every day in strength and velocity across the globe.  Even though the bank has fortified its defenses against the attacks, the battle is continual and likely never-ending.”


The extent and severity of  the hacking incident has  reportedly so unnerved not only Wall Street but even the White House. A White House insider reported that  cyber situationers are now part of the security briefings for President Obama alongside the  regular menu such as the ISIS threat and the situation in Ukraine.


As the story of the JP Morgan attacks unraveled, a number of conspiracy theories have emerged.  


The principal suspect is Russia. There is speculation that the attacks were not about profit, but about politics. The attacks could be a retaliation over sanctions imposed on Russia  due to its actions in Ukraine.


The other usual suspect is China which the FBI has routinely accused of cyber attacks and spying. Five Chinese military officers have been indicted for hacking into US companies in May.


What can we learn from the JP Morgan Chase attack?


If it can happen to JP Morgan, it can just as well happen to the Big Boys in Philippine banking. Much more so, to the Smaller Boys.


In case we lose our deposit(s) in a cyber attack, are we protected to the extent provided for under the Philippine Deposit Insurance Act?


Something to think about.

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