Big financial institutions are looking at giving cyber-security assistance to financial advisors and other companies in their supply chains, said the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cyber Division Joe Demarest.

The companies would probably provide guidance on hardware and might provide software, Demarest told Financial Advisor magazine on Monday.

He noted one barrier to that assistance is the potential legal liability that large companies might face for cyber breaches at their smaller partners.

But companies are realizing cyber targets are widespread and a coordinated effort is needed to combat them, even among competitors.

“Your incident may not just be your incident. The hacker may be attacking other people as well,” said the FBI’s Chief Cyber Security Lawyer Sean Farrell in a seminar with Demarest and other officials from the Secret Service and the Financial Services Roundtable.

Ari Baranoff, the Secret Service’s top cyber security executive, said most significant cyber attacks are coming from overseas.

According to Demarest, the same hackers who are assaulting U.S. computers during the day for their governments are also engaging in cyber crime in the evening to make money for themselves, often without the knowledge of their host countries.

Pointing out how lucrative identity theft can be, the experts said everyone’s Social Security number and other personal information is worth $10 per person on the underground market.

They recommended financial advisors who think they have been hacked contact the local FBI field office which can be found on