The nation's leading banks were the subject of a coordinated cyberattack launched earlier this week, and the level of the attacks resulted in a closed-door White House meeting on the safety of computer networks serving the nations major financial institutions.
According to combined media resources, the attacks centered on websites belonging to Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and PNC Bank. Each website was the victim of ‘denial of service’ attacks that created extended online slowdowns and inaccessibility. The websites for the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ also reported slowdowns this week, but there is no confirmation that their online activity was part of the wider cyberattack.
There have been no public reports of stolen data as a result of the attacks, and the full level of damage is currently being analyzed by the U.S. National Security Agency.
The White House, in response to this situation, is reportedly circulating the draft of an executive order that would create a program designed to protect the nation's major computer networks from Internet-borne threats. Cybersecurity legislation has remained stalled in the partisan-divided Congress.
An Islamist group calling itself Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters publicly claimed responsibility for the attacks as part of what it dubs ‘Operation Ababil,’ but there is no independent confirmation of their claim. Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., blames the attacks on the Iranian government.
‘I don't believe these were just hackers who were skilled enough to cause disruption of the websites,’ he says. ‘I think this was done by Iran … and I believe it was a response to the increasingly strong economic sanctions that the United States and our European allies have put on Iranian financial institutions.’
(Editor's note: This week's MortgageOrb E-Feature details how mortgage banks can help promote cybersecurity awareness with their customers. The E-Feature can be located here.)