The Technical Details of the JP Morgan Data Breach

By: Morpheus Data

In yet another data breach, JP Morgan lost gigabytes of customer data, including some account information. Find out the technical details of the attack that allowed it to be successful.

TL;DR: JP Morgan was recently the latest large back to fall victim to a data breach that lost customer data. In spite of the company already having some very sophisticated security measures in place, the attackers were able to get into the database by exploiting a vulnerability they discovered in the JP Morgan web site. From there, writing some custom malware allowed them to obtain gigabytes of customer data over the course of roughly two months.

Security Measures Already in Place

The bank already had a strong security system in place, with very sophisticated attack detection systems. Two months before the breach, JP Morgan announced that they would begin spending approximately $250 million per year on cybersecurity and would have roughly 1,000 people working on this part of their infrastructure.

This would seemingly be a tough structure to bypass for intruders looking to gain access to the bank’s data. Unfortunately for the bank, attackers managed to find a way to do so.

The Beginning of the Breach

In early June when the attackers discovered a flaw in one of the JP Morgan web sites. The intruders used this flaw to begin writing custom programs that could be used to attack the bank’s corporate network. The malware was tailor made for infiltrating the JP Morgan network and digging deep into their systems.

The attackers are thought to have succeeded by finding a number of zero-day vulnerabilities, by which they could gain control of the systems they were after using methods that were unknown prior to the attack. This meant that programmers also had zero time to create any patches that could be used to counter the infiltration.

Example of a zero-day attack. Source: FireEye

The Data Collection

With their custom malware in place, the attackers were able to slowly gather consumer data. Their advanced attack programs were able to avoid detection by the bank’s extremely sophisticated detection alarms specifically designed to determine when stolen data was being pulled from their systems, and to avoid it for more than two months!

To help avoid detection, the malware was designed to route through computers in a number of foreign countries, and then was most often redirected to a site in Russia. During the two month period, the attackers were able to use this redirection to obtain gigabytes of customer data from the bank undetected. When JP Morgan was eventually able to find the breach, they were able to quickly put an end to it using their security measures.

Example of malware detection and reaction. Source: Securosis

Securing Big Data

Trying to secure large amounts of data can be a challenging task, especially if you do not have a large and sophisticated system in place like JP Morgan. One way to help with this is to find a company that offers a database as a service on the cloud.

One such service is Morpheus, which offers numerous security features to help protect important data, including online monitoring and VPN connections to databases. In addition, all databases are backed up, archived, and replicated on an SSD-backed infrastructure automatically.

With Morpheus, you can choose from several databases, including MySQL, MongoDB, and others, plus all databases are easy to install and scale based on your needs. So, visit the Morpheus site for pricing information or to try it out with a free account!