Earlier this week, JPMorgan Chase revealed that about 76 million households were targeted in a massive cyberattack that happened over the summer.
The security breach, one of the biggest ever to target an American company, was said to have been perpetrated by overseas hackers whose motives and methods for carrying out the attacks are still unclear.
However, some details about the attackers have surfaced. According to a report from the New York Times, American intelligence officials believe that the hackers carried out the attacks from Russia. The attackers, who gained access to the names, email addresses and phone numbers of JP Morgan account holders, are also said to have "at least loose connections" with officials from the Russian government.
According to people familiar with the matter, JPMorgan was not the only financial institution targeted by the hackers. The attackers also infiltrated nine other banks and brokerage firms. However, the sources did not disclose the names of the other companies that were targeted. It is also unclear if the security breach on the nine companies went as deep as the JPMorgan attack.
Days after the cyberattack, it is still unclear whether the hackers were out to steal account details or were simply making a point about infiltrating even the most protected targets in the US. Nonetheless, the New York Times report claims that American intelligence officials are more concerned about the attacks than they are letting on publicly. Some believed that the attacks were meant to demonstrate to the United States and Wall Street that even major financial institutions have vulnerabilities.
"It could be in retaliation for the sanctions," a senior official said. He was referring to the economic sanctions that the US and the European Union have issued to Russia over its conflict with the Ukraine. "But it could be mixed motives- to steal if they can, or to sell whatever information they could glean."
The cyberattack was first discovered last July. According to security experts who were briefed about the breach, JPMorgan's security team was able to stop the hackers before they gained access to very sensitive information. The security breach was not totally blocked until the middle of August.