Since September 19, major US banks have been hit by â€œdenial of serviceâ€ attacks, the biggest so far in history according to CNN. The first to be hit was the Bank of America which was hit on September 19 as well as JP Morgan Chase. Then it was followed by Wells Fargo, the US Bank and then PNC Bank. All these banks have suffered from day-long slowdown of service and were unreachable to customer for certain amounts of time.
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Experts on cyber security say that the system slowdowns and outages were caused by what they deem to be the biggest cyber attacks they have ever seen. Two researchers have concluded they were the largest ever recorded. The â€œdenial of serviceâ€ attack is achieved by directing huge amounts of traffic towards a website causing it to crash. Banks get hit by cyber attacks all the time and are ready with the best of defenses but it is obvious that this time they were outgunned.
Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of CrowdStrike, a security firm which has been investigating the attacks, says "The volume of traffic sent to these sites is frankly unprecedented. It’s 10 to 20 times the volume that we normally see, and twice the previous record for a denial of service attack." He opined that to achieve these attacks, the attackers had to get hold of thousands of high-powered application servers and directed all of these to the targeted banks. The attacks simply overwhelmed BA and JPMC web servers on September 19, Wells Fargo and US Bank on Wednesday and PNC on Thursday.
The security firm assures the public that no data was stolen on these attacks. The aim was to simply knock down the banksâ€™ public-facing websites temporarily. The Islamist group Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters publicly claimed responsibility for the attacks and called it â€œOperation Ababil,â€ but researchers are divided about how to take this claim. But Dmitri Alperovitch believes that the group is responsible for the attacks as the group announced each attack well before they were carried out.