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Expect new wave of cyberattacks vs FIs
MADISON, Wis. (12/12/12)--Banks are bracing for a new set of prolonged Denial of Service (DOS) cyberattacks. A group that claimed responsibility for global DOS attacks against about a dozen banks in September warned Monday it has targeted five big banks for electronic attacks soon.

The group, called al Qassam Cyber Fighters Group, said Monday it will target JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, U.S. Bank, PNC Financial and SunTrust in phase two of an operation it began in September against banks in retaliation for a trailer shown on YouTube of an anti-Muslim film made in America (American Banker Dec. 11).

The attacks will increase in breadth and in the number, with repeated attacks, said a message posted on a computer programmers' website.

Already customers of BofA were reporting sporadic issues getting access to their online accounts Monday, with some reports trickling in Tuesday (Charlotte Observer Dec. 11). However, it wasn't known whether the al Qassam Cyber Fighters Group was responsible.  BofA was the first bank hit in the September epidemic.

The attacks in September were termed "unprecedented" because of their speed and scale. They flooded lines that connect banks to the Internet and prevented customers from gaining access to their accounts, said the Banker.  The U.S. government had said at the time the earlier attacks may have come from Iran.

PNC CEO James Rohr, in an interview on CNBC in October, said the bank had 38 hours of attacks on its systems--the longest attack amongst the banks targeted--and that the attacks "pummeled us"  (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Dec. 11).

Other banks hit with that type of attack in September and October included BofA, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One and BB&T, said the Pittsburgh  newspaper.  The American Banker also named two other banks hit: HSBC and Regions Financial.

The attacks are not part of Team GhostShell, a group of hacktivists claiming responsibility for hacking into the websites of 30 companies, organizations, U.S. government agencies and trade associations, including the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), earlier this week. CUNA advised its website users that no sensitive information was accessed or otherwise compromised and it advised taking precautionary steps, such as changing their passwords for www.cuna.org.
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