Governance, Risk & Compliance

Governance, Risk & Compliance

December 17, 2012

Banks Successfully Fend Off Hackers from Disrupting Online Banking Operations

JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, U.S. Bancorp and other major U.S. banks have seemingly prevented a hacking attempt on their online operations. The banks have been able to stop a group of hackers from seriously disrupting their online operations.

According to a financial services industry organization and several cyber security companies, the group of "hactivists" succeeded in hampering operations by impeding access to some major U.S. online banking sites in September. But their recent attacks had been fended off.

The hactivists had started their second campaign earlier this week and had failed to gain traction.

"There has been no impact to critical financial systems," the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) said in a statement.

Tom Kellermann, vice president of cyber security at security software maker Trend Micro (News - Alert) Inc., said that the banks had been "very successful. I wouldn't see any prolonged outages for the major financial institutions in the coming year."

According to Arbor Networks, a company that sells equipment that helps protect the websites against attack, the banks had bolstered their defenses since the last round of attacks in September and they were better prepared.

"Everyone has been through this once or twice," said Dan Holden (News - Alert), an Arbor director. "It is just that there is just a better level of preparedness."

A group that calls itself the Qassam Cyber Fighters declared that it was planning attacks against a group of five banks on a website called Banks included PNC (News - Alert) Financial Services Group, Inc. and SunTrust Banks, Inc.

The same group reportedly took credit for disrupting the online banking operations in September.

According to U.S. Bancorp spokesman Tom Joyce, the regional bank's website was performing well but there was a possibility of customers’ experiencing intermittent delays. "We can assure customers that their data and funds are secure," he said.

The hactivists were apparently unable to dent the systems this time. Most of the banks operated normally. Bank of America was operational and was monitoring the situation and its systems.

PNC said its site was experiencing unusually heavy traffic past several days and its customers were having trouble accessing its systems.

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Edited by Braden Becker

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