Threatened wave of cyberattacks on U.S. banks fizzles
A computer hacking group said it was initiating a new round of cyberattacks on American banks on Tuesday.
But as banks have improved their defenses, it's unlikely that many online banking customers noticed.
Wells Fargo & Co.'s website experienced unusually high traffic, spokeswoman Bridget Braxton said, yet “we have significant protections in place in an effort to ensure our online and mobile channels remain secure, available and operational.”
“We have seen high traffic volume today and, based on the pattern, we believe it is a denial-of-service attack,” Braxton said. “Most customers are not impacted, and customer accounts and personal information remain safe.”
Pittsburgh-based PNC had no problems Tuesday, spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel said. Bank of America reported no issues, spokesman Mark Pipitone said.
Both those banks previously experienced temporary website shutdowns in so-called distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks by a group calling itself al Qassam Cyber Fighters.
Banks have figured out how to defend themselves, an Internet security expert said.
“If we don't hear anything, it's because banks have smartened up and taken care of their DDoS issues,” said Jeff Bardin, an Internet security consultant from Boston.
DDoS attacks flood a website with Internet traffic, often from an army of compromised computers and servers that can be controlled by hackers. The volume prevents legitimate users from accessing the website, but doesn't affect personal or financial information.
“What these DDoS's have created is a huge market for solutions,” Bardin said, referring to a growing number of outside companies that “scrub” incoming Internet traffic for banks and other companies.
The Cyber Fighters, which claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on PNC Bank and other large banks last fall and early this year, said the attacks would run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week until several anti-Muslim videos were removed from the YouTube video-sharing website.
In a post to Internet message board Pastebin.com, the Cyber Fighters said when websites would be hit but, unlike in previous messages, it did not name the banks ahead of time.
Bardin said that signals the group is having difficulty finding sites that it can successfully disrupt.
The hackers would only announce their targets if they knew they were vulnerable.
“They don't know what they're going to hit because people have hardened their sites,” he said.
Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Alex Nixon to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh angles to keep Heinz headquarters in merger
- Michigan man takes Heinz to court over Dip & Squeeze ketchup packet
- Stop foreign dumping, U.S. Steel CEO Longhi tells Congress
- Pa. Gas & Electric agrees to $6.8 million settlement of polar vortex claims
- Energy Department OKs loan of $259M to Alcoa to promote clean energy
- Federal Trade Commission cracks down on crooked vehicle sales
- One secret Facebook doesn’t want you to know
- Federal government eyes regulation of payday lending
- Toyota to carry new attitude into production
- Court approves LightSquared’s bankruptcy exit plan
- Heinz merging with Kraft in mega-deal; headquarters to stay in Pittsburgh