Banks Get Hit By CyberAttacks

The level of cyberattacks levied against US banks over the previous seven months is pushing Congress to move forward quickly on legislation for cyber security. Based on a statement issued by Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, 15 top banks have been hit with denial of service attacks resulting in nearly 250 hours of offline time.

A denial of service attack is conducted by jamming a large network with so many requests and pieces of useless data that the servers eventually fall over and cannot process any other transactions. The result makes websites inaccessible, sometimes for many hours or even days.

Security experts and officials believe Iran was the source of the attacks, which crippled institutions such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, PNC and most recently, American Express. The attacks were blamed on the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters group as payback for an Internet video that insulted Prophet Muhammed.

The Cyber Intellegience Sharing and Protection Act

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Rogers also stated that although the online security for the banks is the very best, it cannot always withstand the level of attacks being mounted against it, which would be easily sustainable by Iran. He is encouraging the quick passing of H.R.624, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which would ease the legal process of getting information about cyber threats to the corporations that need it. Rogers says this will better help companies protect sensitive data and intellectual property from any future attacks.

A California democrat, Representative Adam Schiff, who is on the House Intelligence Committee, told news agencies that there has been agressive follow-up by law enforcement to identify the exact source of the cyberattacks and put a stop to them. Schiff stated that security breaches on large computer networks are a daily problem from hackers hoping to gain an economic, technological or political advantage from the information obtained. He also admitted some hackers do it just because they are able to, and that the data leaks have to stop.

Risk-management vice-president Doug Johnson, who works for the American Bankers Association, confirmed that the cyberattacks have greatly increased since October 2012, and it is fully expected that they will continue. He said that the banks would not stop fighting them, even though the attacks are not an actual intrusion but more of a network disruption to cause customers inconvenience. This is the equivalent of trying to knock the door down but being unable to enter the premises.

This article was written by Joe Restivo, a regular contributor to the blog InternetPaymentServices.net, which provides news and updates on cyber security, online payment systems and online technology.

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