Some 465,000 holders of prepaid cash cards issued by JPMorgan Chase & Co may have been compromised by hackers who attacked the banks network in July 2013. In the middle of September, the bank detected that the web servers used by its site www.ucard.chase.com had been breached. They fixed the issue and reported it to law enforcement but did not notify the cardholders that their personal information had been accessed.
The cards were issued for unemployment compensation, government agencies to issue tax refunds, corporations to pay employees and other benefits. Since the breach was discovered, the bank has been trying to figure out which accounts were accessed and what information may have been stolen, said bank spokesperson Michael Fusco. He could not provide any information on how the attackers breached the network.
About 2 percent of its roughly 25 million UCard users were compromised and the bank is notifying the cardholders, Fusco said. The bank keeps personal information scrambled or encrypted as a security precaution but in this circumstance, the data was in plain text; in files the computers use to log account activity. Some data was removed from the bank’s servers but they are unsure about what and how much. They could not rule out the possibility that personal information was among the data that was removed.
The bank contends that “a small amount” of data was stolen but not critical information such as email addresses, birth dates and social security numbers. Such data is coveted by cyber criminals because it allows them to engage in identity theft, obtain credit cards and open bank accounts. To offset the potential for identity theft, the bank is offering the affected cardholders a year of free credit-monitoring services.
Similarly, in 2007, around 41 million debit and credit card numbers from major retailers, such as T.J. Maxx stores were stolen. More alarmingly, U.S. prosecutors have divulged that in May 2013, a global cybercrime ring had stolen as much as $45 million from several banks. The cyber thugs hacked into credit card processing firms and withdrew funds from ATMs in 27 different countries.
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