By Daniel Hunter

The FBI has launched an investigation into reports that Russian hackers attempted to hack American bank's computer networks.

The FBI said it is trying to determine if a cyber-attack on US banking giant, JP Morgan, and four other financial institutions was in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Russia by Europe and the US.

Reports suggest that sensitive customer data was stolen as part of the breach.

Amichai Shulman, CTO Imperva, said: "This is very different from the alleged Iranian attacks earlier in 2012 and late 2013 that were purely of a denial-of-service nature. Apparently, this time around hackers got inside bank systems.

"None of the people commenting on the incident mentioned a direct financial loss, or a direct fraudulent financial activity by the attacker. Everyone is talking about grabbing sensitive information. I find it odd that someone who was actually able to break into a bank is not using it for making immediate profit. Two possibilities here: first is that there are missing pieces in the puzzle (i.e. we are not being told everything) and second is that these were indeed politically motivated hackers."

Philip Lieberman, CEO of Lieberman Software, said: “The ability to overcome the typical financial defense-in-depth strategy outlined by JPMorgan points to capabilities that go beyond criminal activity and are in the realm of nation state capabilities. JPMorgan and similar entities employ sufficient technology to protect themselves from criminals, but typically fail to invest enough in technology and process to shield themselves from nation state’s ability to access their systems at will."

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