Earlier this week, the same group that claimed responsibility for all those bank attacks two months ago is now threatening to unleash another round and to prove it means business, it’s claiming responsibility for the problems Bank of America experienced on Tuesday. And just like before, it was a series of intermittent outages that lasted through business hours.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters posted on a message board on Monday that it would once again target the same banks it initially hit, including Bank of America, U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services and SunTrust Bank.
Before it came under attack, a Bank of America spokesperson told FOX Business that the bank was aware of the reports and that it was monitoring all of its systems. She then said that at that time, there were no problems and the website was “fully operational”. Hours later, the problems began.
Meanwhile, PNC put its customers’ minds at ease via social media. Using Facebook as its preferred vehicle, the bank said it too was aware of a potential attack and that it had experienced no problems, either. It did say, however, that the threat, if it came full circle, could “result in high volume of electronic traffic that may make it difficult for our customers to log onto online banking.”
None of the other banks commented, though they could at any time, especially if their banks are targeted next.
What’s so troublesome with these new threats are the promises to amp up the attacks. In its message board posting, the group said,
In new phase, the wideness and the number of attacks will increase explicitly; and offenders and subsequently their governmental supporters will not be able to imagine and forecast the widespread and greatness of these attacks.
Once again, it’s citing the anti Muslim video that hit YouTube this past September. After the video hit the web, a series of widespread denial-of-service attacks began against the banks. These attacks work by overloading servers with a flood of requests, which make it difficult for others to access the sites. At no time was data at risk, say analysts, but these new threats make no promises that it won’t be the case this time around. These botnets are more powerful than efforts that could have been made with personal computers, which led many to believe there was more to this group than initially believed.
Meanwhile, at least fifty Bank of America customers reported they were unable to access the bank’s website on Tuesday morning. The bank began conducting its own security search and testing and confirmed that the website was indeed inaccessible at different times and very slow loading at other times of the day. By 4 p.m. ET, it appeared the attacks had run their course as the site was easy to access at that time. The bank immediately issued a statement and said it was aware of the cyberattacks and that it would continue monitoring its systems. It said it had also been in contact with the “small number of customers” who’d reported earlier problems that day.
The attacks, despite promises of more damage this time, appeared to mirror those in September and early October and were called “fairly rudimentary in nature”.
Still, and part of its announcement on its message board of choice, the group had this to say:
Now, we acclaim that the second phase of the Ababil operation is in ahead… In new phase, the wideness and the number of attacks will increase explicitly; and offenders and subsequently their governmental supporters will not be able to imagine and forecast the widespread and greatness of these attacks. Continually, the goals under attacks of this week are including: U.S. Bancorp, JPMorgan Chase&co, Bank of America, PNC Financial Fervices (sp) Group, SunTrust Banks, Inc.
Many may recall the bank’s announcement late last year that it would begin laying off 36,000 people with the goal of saving $5 billion each year. As a result, Forbes ranked Bank of America’s financial health 91st out of the nations largest 100 banks and thrift institutions. Meanwhile, the bank is still on target to cut 16,000 jobs before the year’s up. It’s cited new financial regulations and a slow economy as its reason. It’s part of its cost cutting program, Project New BAC.
*Note: As of 6:30 AM CST on Wednesday, the bank appears to be down again, though we’ve not been able to determine if it’s another attack or some other glitch. For the past 14 minutes, we have been unable to visit the Bank of America website.
What are your thoughts on these attacks? Has your bank been hit with one of these cyber attacks? If so, how long was the site down? Share your story with us.