HELLO, NERO?--Reporters in the length and breadth of their careers acquire useful sources of information. A human is called a contact. During a social event mid summer I asked one of my contacts, a well-placed top executive in management of this nation’s key defense contractors, what he thought of the “just happened” cyber attack on JP Morgan Chase that we later learned compromised more than 83 million households.
When asked about the seriousness and possible fallout of the cyber attack on one of Wall Street’s top institutions, my contact shrugged. “Tip of the iceberg,” he said and followed up with “the next 9-11 to hit this country—when it happens--will be a debilitating cyber attack on our economy...”
Over the weekend, the New York Times called the JP Morgan cyber attack “... one of the most serious computer intrusions into an American corporation.” If that wasn’t bad enough, the NYT added: “But it could have been much worse.”
My contact agreed, “papers are flying and desks are shuffling all over Washington. It got our attention.”
As well they should.
NYTimes reporters Matthew Goldstein, Nicole Perlroth and David Sanger reported in early October: “The hackers are thought to be operating from Russia and appear to have at least loose connections with officials of the Russian government, the people briefed on the matter said.
“It is unclear whether the other intrusions, at banks and brokerage firms, were as deep as the one that JPMorgan disclosed on Thursday. The identities of the other institutions could not be immediately learned.
“The breadth of the attacks — and the lack of clarity about whether it was an effort to steal from accounts or to demonstrate that the hackers could penetrate even the best-protected American financial institutions — has left Washington intelligence officials and policy makers far more concerned than they have let on publicly. Some American officials speculate that the breach was intended to send a message to Wall Street and the United States about the vulnerability of the digital network of one of the world’s most important banking institutions,” said the NY Times reporters.
One gets the feeling that the recent JP Morgan attack was akin to the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. That was a big warning. One can only hope Washington intelligence cadres led by U.S. Treasury, the Secret Service and other intelligence agencies can stop the next big attack.
Given the Secret Service’s recent turmoil, I, as one citizen am terrified that our cyber sleuths have been handed the ball way too late.
And, it isn’t comforting when earlier this summer Jacob J. Lew asked Congress to pass legislation to improve information sharing process between the times corporations are hacked and the time the Government agencies hear about it.
Mr. Lew is this nation’s Treasury Secretary.
Given our Congress can only pass gas, good luck Mr. Lew and Gods of choice help the rest of us. –Opinion by Thomas Shess, Editor of Pillar to Post Blog
PS: Hmmm. Makes one wonder if indeed Russia is behind the JP Morgan cyber attack that they might have employed a certain whistleblower exiled there. Revenge is a bitch.