The FBI is investigating cyber-attacks against the US banking industry, including JP Morgan Chase and four other banks, after they were targeted by hackers the bureau believe to be based in Russia.
A preliminary FBI probe found that gigabtyes of sensitive customer data was lost in attacks reminiscent to those on European institutions, including the European Central Bank this summer.
The US agency is exploring links that the hackers could be connected to Russian organised crime - or even the government - however the FBI did not confirm that the attacks were backlash for US and EU sanctions placed upon Russia.
Joshua Campbell, FBI supervisory special agent, said: “We are working with the United States secret service to determine the scope of recently reported cyber-attacks against several American financial institutions."
A JPMorgan statement said: “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.”
James Lewis, director of the Strategic Technologies program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Bloomberg: “The way the Russians do it, to the extent we can see into the process, is they encourage certain targets.
“The Russians typically keep open the options to do something more, and the question now is what would trigger that and what would our response be.”
Earlier this year a Russian-based hacker-collective perpetrated one of the biggest ever recorded data thefts, stealing over 1.2bn username and password combinations from a Milwaukee-based firm.