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FBI provided US banks with cyber security attack insights

13 May 2013

The FBI gave leading US banks a rare insight into its investigation on the people behind numerous and prolonged attacks on the financial sector.

The revelation came from the FBI's executive assistant director, Richard McFeely, who told a cyber security conference organised by Reuters the rare insight into its investigation came in order to help them understand more about the threats they are facing.

Banks including JP Morgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup have all been targeted by attacks, many of which are rumoured to have come from Iran, in response to malware like Stuxnet being found targeting its nuclear systems.

The FBI declined to say anything more about what it had told the executives from the banks in attendance, but the video conference sessions revealing what it had uncovered so far in a ‘who's behind the keyboard' investigation is a notable step forward in information sharing.

To date, most agencies and organisations have been reluctant to give away too much information in order to prevent rivals gathering insights on their operations, but repeated attacks on the financial sector have made information sharing a must. President Obama even signed an executive order to make information sharing a top priority among relevant stakeholders.

But so far, little action has been taken against any perpetrators but McFeely hinted that arrests may be on the cards in the future. "The first time we bring someone in from out of the country in handcuffs, that's going to be a big deal," he said.

Threats to the financial sector are not limited to the US, with a dangerous variant of the Ramnit malware found targeting the UK banks in April, while the Australian sector was also hit earlier this year.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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