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October 05, 2012

Anonymity of U.S. Bank Cyber Attackers Remains Uncompromised

By David Gitonga, TMCnet Contributing Writer

The anonymity of the perpetrators of the cyber attacks shaking U.S. banks for more than a week now remains to be a mystery. Up to date, all that experts can do is just but speculate. Individuals’ comments based on pure suspicion rather than solid and tangible facts manifest this.

Rumor has it that the attacks are the handiwork of Islamists annoyed by an anti-Muslim movie made in the U.S.; however, Mike Smith, whose Web security company, Akamai (News - Alert), has been analyzing some of the attacks, thinks that the claim is a hoax. He further puts it in the class of ‘false flags,’ feeling that it is a move aimed at obscuring the actual reality.

Information published on the Web in early September hint that the cyber attacks is the work of an Islamist group on a revenge mission against American financial organizations for the “Innocence of Muslims,” a low-budget U.S movie that ridicules Mohammed, who is a core pillar of the Islamic faith.

Image via Shutterstock

A minimum of half a dozen banks, including ‘big fish’ like Bank of America and Citigroup, have had to battle with traffic surges and disruptions though not all of these actions have been confirmed as online attacks. These, however, are the initial signs of impending Denial-Of-Service attacks, which have no direct impact on the condition of a firm’s sensitive data but only work to stagnate the functions of websites that depend on customer interaction to generate revenue.

Smith believes that the power and extent of the attacks is slightly above the capability of the religious youth group. For instance, Fred Solomon, the spokesperson of the PNC (News - Alert) bank during a telephone interview, admitted that the bank has never seen such strong traffic, which he estimates at 60 to 65Gbps.

Smith also ruled out the possibility of the attacks being from hacktivists. These are politically-inclined groups active in social links and work by providing links that when used by users harm targeted systems. He, however, believes that the attacks are too homogenous unlike hacktivist-fueled attacks that rain in from all directions.

Unlike U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman who without offering proof pointed a finger at Iran, Mike has wittily refused to take a stand. All he said is, "only a handful of groups out there have the technical ability or incentive" to carry it out.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
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