Tags: Capital One Targeted as Cyber Attacks Resume on Banks

Capital One Targeted as Cyber Attacks Resume on Banks

Tuesday, 09 Oct 2012 05:17 PM

Capital One Financial Corp. said it’s the latest target in a new round of coordinated cyber attacks aimed at disrupting the websites of major U.S. banks, and SunTrust Banks Inc. and Regions Financial Corp. said they expect to be next.

Pam Girardo, a spokeswoman for McLean, Virginia-based Capital One, confirmed in an e-mail statement Tuesday that the bank’s online systems were disrupted.

“We are working to restore online service as soon as possible,” she said, advising customers to call the bank if they need assistance. “At this point, we have no reason to believe that customer and account information is at risk.”

The computer assaults are a continuation of a campaign that began last month using commercial servers to overload bank websites with Internet traffic, temporarily disrupting and slowing online services for customers.

A group calling itself Izz ad-Din al-Quassam Cyber Fighters has claimed responsibility for the attacks in statements posted to the website pastebin.com, saying they’re in response to a video uploaded to Google Inc.’s YouTube, ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad and offending some Muslims.

The group gave notice that distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks would continue Tuesday against Capital One, followed by SunTrust Wednesday and Regions Financial on Thursday.

The attacks reveal that some of the nation’s most advanced computer defenses are vulnerable to cyber attacks even if the targets know they’re coming.

Online Service

Evelyn Mitchell, a spokeswoman for Birmingham, Alabama-based Regions Financial, said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday that the bank knows about the warning.

“We are aware that the group claiming responsibility for these attacks has identified Regions as one of its targets,” she said. “We take online security seriously and are taking every measure to protect the company and our customers.”

Michael McCoy, spokesman for Atlanta-based SunTrust, said it’s reacting to the threat.

“We are aware of the threat and are working to mitigate any disruption to our clients should an attack occur, but we will decline to offer specifics,” McCoy said.

DDoS attacks, which are relatively common, harness networks of infected computers to bombard websites with traffic in an effort to slow or crash them. In the case of the banks, the attackers commandeered commercial servers, which were able to pump a larger volume of traffic at the sites, according to cybersecurity researchers.

Complex Attacks

“The attacks are sophisticated,” William Nelson, president of the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, said at a roundtable discussion in Washington Tuesday. “It is a challenge.”

“If you put up one defense, they have a workaround” and have the ability to change how they’re attacking, Nelson said. The attacks are “defendable,” he said, while declining to provide details pf the attacks or discuss who may be responsible.

“It’s more complex,” Nelson said of the attacks. “It’s something we haven’t really seen before.”

Asked about the Web posting about new banks targeted this week, Nelson said the banks “knew about it immediately so they can take action immediately.”

“They’re in contact, I can assure you, with the right people within government and other members,” he said.

The FS-ISAC was established in 1999 to disseminate cyber threat information to the financial-services industry. It works with the U.S. Treasury and Homeland Security departments, and its 4,200 members include large banks and credit-card companies.

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Capital One Financial Corp. said it's the latest target in a new round of coordinated cyber attacks aimed at disrupting the websites of major U.S. banks, and SunTrust Banks Inc. and Regions Financial Corp. said they expect to be next.
Capital One Targeted as Cyber Attacks Resume on Banks
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2012-17-09
Tuesday, 09 Oct 2012 05:17 PM
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