US Banks Hit by Cyber-Attacks

By Antonio Perez On September 27, 2012 @ 9:59 pm In Economy & Trade | No Comments

ATM machines are viewed at a Bank of America branch in Times Square in New York City, Sept. 20. Several U.S. banks, starting with Bank of America Corp. on Sept. 19, have been victims of cyber-attacks, leading to site outages and slow loading times. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

ATM machines are viewed at a Bank of America branch in Times Square in New York City, Sept. 20. Several U.S. banks, starting with Bank of America Corp. on Sept. 19, have been victims of cyber-attacks, leading to site outages and slow loading times. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Major U.S. banks were hit by several cyber-attacks, leading to site outages, slow loading times, and other issues.

Banks including Bank of America Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo Co., PNC Financial Services Group Inc., and US Bancorp have all been affected over the past week of so. The attacks began on Sept. 19, with Bank of America, and on Thursday, PNC became the latest victim.

“PNC’s systems were operating largely as usual today, though some customers did report difficulty accessing PNC.com on their first try,” a PNC spokesman, Fred Solomon, said on Sept. 26. His bank was targeted a day later, on Sept. 27. As of 7 p.m. Thursday, PNC’s website was out of service.

According to Security Info Watch, a Web security website, the attacks were aimed at major U.S. financial institutions by unknown persons, in connection with recent anti-U.S. protests in the Middle East.

One hacker group, which calls itself Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters announced in several Web blog entries that it had initiated the cyber-attacks. The attackers also encouraged others to join the effort and attack the systems of major U.S. banks and the New York Stock Exchange.

Most of the attacks, including those affecting PNC and Wells Fargo, are denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, which prevent users from accessing the affected websites by flooding the servers with unusually high volume. DoS attacks do not typically give the cyber-attacker confidential information, so customers at affected banks should not be concerned regarding the integrity of their financial information.

Last week, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman said in an interview with C-SPAN that he believes the recent cyber-attacks were sponsored by the government of Iran. Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters denies that it is supported by the Iranian government, in a blog post.

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