(Source: Christopher Seward The Atlanta Journal-Constitution — The BB&T website this week became the latest target of Islamist hackers who recently interrupted the websites of Capital One, SunTrust, Regions Financial and other banking companies, the North Carolina-based bank acknowledged.
BB&T customers had trouble accessing BBT.com on Wednesday after the Iranian “hacktivist” group Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters launched its attack.
The denial-of-service attacks “burden the bank websites with heavy traffic volume that causes slow service for the sites or makes them completely unavailable,” according to thehackernews.com.
BB&T said the attacks did not target individual accounts or the company’s computer network, and that service was restored for the most part.
Similar attacks, now in their fifth week, have crippled online access to at least eight U.S. banking companies. Others affected since September include Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, PNC, and U.S. Bank. Capital One’s websites were hit twice this month.
On Tuesday on the website Pastebin.com, the Islamist group said the attacks were in response to the YouTube movie “Innocence of Muslims,” which has triggered numerous violent protests because Muslims say it insults the Prophet Muhammad.
The movie initially was blamed for attacks on U.S. embassies in Muslim countries, the worst of which left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three others dead in Libya on Sept. 11. The White House now acknowledges the Libyan attack was the result of terrorism.
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters calls the banking targets “properties of American-Zionist Capitalists. … This attack will continue till the Erasing of that nasty movie. Beware this attack can vary in type.”
U.S. officials privately say the cyber attacks are in retaliation for sanctions that have cut Iranian oil production and the value of the country’s currency, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Mike Smith of Akamai Technologies, an Internet security company, told Bankinfosecurity.com that fraud appears to be the real motive.
“The attackers are looking for targets that have footprints on employees’ desktops so they can compromise those employees and get access to accounts,” Smith told Bankinfosecurity.
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam was a Muslim leader who fought the British, French and Zionists in the 1920s and 1930s, and also is the name given to the military wing of Hamas.
©2012 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)
Visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.) at www.ajc.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Source: Christopher Seward The Atlanta Journal-Constitution