October 6, 2014
In an era of system hacks becoming more common, JP Morgan is the latest to report a massive breach of customer information. While the company believed a few weeks ago that only one million accounts were affected, it now reports that 76 million households and 8 million small businesses were part of the data breach. While recent breaches have largely involved retailers, some analysts are more concerned about the JP Morgan case, especially since banks tend to have more sensitive data about their customers.
“Banks have much more sensitive information about their customers than any retail operation, everything from social security numbers to detailed records of past spending,” reports The Atlantic. “So far, JP Morgan reports that only limited personal information, such as names, phone numbers, and addresses, were stolen, insisting that social security numbers, banking information, and other data remain safe.”
But if that other information were to be leaked, the results could be catastrophic. And personal information leaks could easily lead to increased identity theft.
“There’s now a potential array of fraudulent activity possible without the consumer even knowing,” explained Jeremy Edwards, lead analyst at IBISWorld. “If you get a phone call that seems like it’s coming from a financial institution with your information, you’re more likely to believe the scammer.”
To make matters worse, some believe there is little that can be done beyond current security measures to prevent this type of attack from happening again.
“JP Morgan spends crazy amounts of money on IT security and yet they can still be hacked,” said Adam Levitin, Georgetown professor of law. “There’s really no way you can be connected to the Internet and keep things safe.”