When workers at JPMorgan-Chase and Bank of America logged on last week, all they saw were messages that said denial-of-service. U.S. security officials told NBC News the reason was an Iranian government bug; the cyber-response to a YouTube movie poking fun at the Prophet Mohammed. Over the last two weeks some Muslim leaders have used the video to spark protests and murder throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
A claim on Pastebin.com says: “We, Cyber fighters of Izz ad-din Al qassam will attack the Bank of America and New York Stock Exchange for the first step. These Targets are properties of American-Zionist Capitalists…This attack will continue till the Erasing of that nasty movie.”
U.S. security personnel say this claim is a cover for the Iranian government. So far, there is no word of attack from the NYSE. Each bank’s system was filled with incoming data until it became inoperable.
According to Frank Cilluffo, a former U.S. official involved in online security, Iran and its terrorist agents pose real threats in cyberspace. He testified in front of the House Committee on Homeland Security: “They do not need highly sophisticated capabilities – just intent and cash – as there exists an arms bazaar of cyber weapons, allowing Iran to buy or rent the tools they need or seek.”
Hackers have also reportedly exploited vulnerability in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, according to the website of Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center. The FS-ISAC collaborates on security threats facing the world of finance. The group has a threat level indicator that last week was raised from elevated to high.
A security contractor source told Reuters that “massive” denial of service disruptions were felling the systems at multiple banks. The FBI published a “fraud alert” notifying financial institutions of the increased likelihood of attacks. It is unknown if this alert is connected to the Iranian cyber threat.
(Joshua Bains – YWN)