Hackers Continue Cyberattacks Against Banks

U.S. officials say the attacks are originating in Iran.


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Several large financial firms report that they continue to be the target of cyberattacks. An Iranian group of hackers called the Qassam Cyber Fighters claims to be behind many of the attacks.

In The Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Gorman reported, "Iranian hackers renewed a campaign of cyberattacks against U.S. banks this week, targeting Capital One Financial Corp. and BB&T Corp. and openly defying U.S. warnings to halt, U.S. officials and others involved in the investigation into the attacks said. The attacks, which disrupted the banks' websites, showed the ability of the Iranian group to sustain its cyberassault on the nation's largest banks for a fifth week, even as it announced its plans to attack in advance."

According to CNET's Declan McCullagh, U.K.-based bank HSBC was hit by similar attacks on Thursday. He quoted an HSBC spokesperson who said, " This denial-of-service attack did not affect any customer data, but did prevent customers using HSBC online services, including Internet banking. We are taking appropriate action, working hard to restore service. We are pleased to say that some sites are now back up and running. We are cooperating with the relevant authorities and will cooperate with other organizations that have been similarly affected by such criminal acts."

Rick Rothacker from Reuters added, "Ally Financial Inc said on Thursday it was monitoring 'unusual activity' on its web site, the latest U.S. bank to report internet issues following recent cyber attacks that have been linked to Iran. Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) and other banks in recent weeks have suffered so-called denial of service attacks in which hackers use a high volume of incoming traffic to delay or disrupt customer websites. Regional bank BB&T Corp (BBT.N) and credit card issuer Capital One Financial Corp (COF.N) confirmed disruptions earlier this week."

Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of the danger posed by cyberattacks. The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker wrote, "The most destructive possibilities, Mr. Panetta said, involve 'cyber-actors launching several attacks on our critical infrastructure at one time, in combination with a physical attack.' He described the collective result as a 'cyber-Pearl Harbor that would cause physical destruction and the loss of life, an attack that would paralyze and shock the nation and create a profound new sense of vulnerability.'"

Tags: hackers, cyberattack, bank, DDOS, Iran

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