Rogers Urges Fast Action on Cybersecurity to Protect Banks

Image: Rogers Urges Fast Action on Cybersecurity to Protect Banks

Thursday, 04 Apr 2013 12:16 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers says he has “no doubt” the Iranian government is behind a recent rash of denial-of-service attacks on American bank Web sites and urged lawmakers to act quickly to pass cybersecurity legislation.

According to NBC News, 15 of the nation's largest banks have been offline for 249 hours over the past six weeks because of cyberattacks. The assaults have been going on for seven months, but reached a new high with the recent attacks, which also hit American Express last week.

“Based on my conversations with companies involved with defending against these attacks, I have no doubt the Iranian government is behind them,” Rogers told NBC. “These banks are among the best in the country when it comes to cybersecurity, but even they are having trouble keeping up with attacks that have the sophistication and the level of resources that a nation-state entity like Iran can devote to them.”

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California Rep. Adam Schiff, a senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies are working to identify the hackers.

But in the meantime, he said the nation's computer networks remain “the subject of daily assault by hostile hackers, both state-sponsored and independent, who hope to obtain confidential information for economic gain, to test our defenses, or simply because they can.”

Rogers said the federal government is trying to share cyberthreat information with the banks, but policy and legal barriers are “impeding that cooperation.”

Doug Johnson, vice president of risk and management policy for the American Bankers Association, acknowledged the attacks have been getting worse since October. But he stressed that important personal and account information is not being hacked.

“At the end of the day, these are disruptions of accounts . . . not intrusions of accounts,” he said. “So essentially, what you have are people knocking at the door and not getting in.”

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