Former NSA Chief Says JPMorgan Hack May Be a Warning

JP-Morgan

Hackers who stole gigabytes of data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. may have been trying to send a message that U.S. financial institutions can be disrupted, the former director of the National Security Agency said.

The FBI is investigating the cyberattack on JPMorgan and whether other banks were penetrated in retaliation for U.S.- backed sanctions on Russia, according to people familiar with the investigation who asked not to be identified because the probe is still underway.

Keith Alexander, the NSA director from 2005 until last March, said he had no direct knowledge of the attack though it could have been backed by the Russian government in response to sanctions imposed by the U.S. and EU over the crisis in Ukraine.

“How would you shake the United States back? Attack a bank in cyberspace,” said Alexander, a retired U.S. Army general who has started his own cybersecurity company to sell services to U.S. banks. “If it was them, they just sent a real message: ‘You’re vulnerable.’”

As NSA chief and head of the U.S. Cyber Command, Alexander tracked and tried to thwart international hackers, giving him knowledge of their tactics. He was head of the NSA in 2008..

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