If you’re a Bank of America customer and tried to log into the bank’s site on Tuesday, there’s a chance your patience was tested. The banking giant’s website experienced sporadic outages due to a cyber attack – and worse – it could be the work of an Islamic terrorist group.
The comments from the bank that were made throughout the day were vague. One spokesperson called it a technical attack that honed in on the DNS structures. Another spokesperson opted for more technical-speak in his efforts of explaining it without giving too much away. Customers saw frustratingly slow page loads, if they even loaded at all. Each spokesperson reiterated the priority of securing the site, at one time saying,
I can tell you we continuously take proactive measures to secure our systems.
Still, the problems continued throughout the day on Tuesday and were noticed as early as 7 a.m. ET. At that time, hashtags began cropping up on Twitter when tweets began that customers were not able to log into their Bank of America bank accounts. Soon, the media noticed the trend and not long after that, spokespersons for BofA began releasing their vague pressers. One website that collects complaints from consumers about websites and crashes had listed a dozen complaints before the 8 a.m. Those complaints were summarized on one forum, SiteDown, as “site not loading” to “unable to access accounts” to “website completely down”. The complaints continued to trickle in throughout the day.
At least one “Anonymous-like” group called Izz-ad-din Al qassam Brigades has taken responsibility on the the hacker website PasteBin. This is a site that allows groups like these get together and brag about their accomplishments. Further, it says it plans to hit the New York Stock Exchange in the near future as well.
Meanwhile, Bank of America says it believes the outage was related to the threats issued on PasteBin against Bank of America and said that while it could be “just a big coincidence” it’s “not likely.” One source with the bank who opted to not reveal his identity said,
It appears that the Radical Islamists have found the Group Anonymous playbook.
There’s also been some evidence that the hackers “linked out” to a file enabling “non-technical individuals” to assist with the attack. The information that’s been collected so far indicates the program uses variations of different methods of the infamous hacker group Anonymous. This, according to Flashpoint Partners, is one reason the effort was successful.
As mentioned, this particular group claims loyalty with Muslims and continues to express its anger over Zionism and the YouTube video that mocked Islam. This same video was the excuse used to bomb the American Embassy last week that killed four Americans, including two Marines and the Ambassador. That said, it’s been difficult to prove the connection to either Islam or Izz ad din Al qassam. Still, and according to Flashpoint Partners, if it is indeed Izz ad-din Al qassam Brigades, there’s evidence of it being an armed wing of Hamas. The group is also linked to a Syrian preacher of the same name who led efforts against Western powers in the 1920s and 1930s.
At some point on Tuesday, the group reiterated its determination to bring down the New York Stock Exchange. Spokespersons with NYSE said their policy is to not comment on security matters. If there were problems on Tuesday, they were minimized as there were no problems that outsiders noticed. Some are concerned these minor hacks are just a bit of what might eventually happen. There are fears, albeit rather grand fears, that if the right groups come together, they could cause devastation to the grids in America, especially considering all of the political and social unrest going on in other parts of the world against the United States.
Many may recall a similar outage one year ago when plans were announced that the bank would be charging customers a $5 debit card fee. Things became more convoluted when it was revealed these fees would not apply to the banks wealthiest customers. Many say these announcements from the “Big 5″ is what spurred the Occupy movement.
For now, Bank of America continues to battle sporadic outages, though the news coming out of the bank says the issues are temporary and it doesn’t expect any long term problems. It reiterates having the best security available; as history tells, though, the latest security is sometimes antiquated within days as hackers continue to keep pace with efforts of preventing these types of blackouts and hacks.
Are you a Bank of America customer? If so, did you have any problems on Tuesday? Let us know and we’d like to hear your experience if you try to log in on Wednesday too. Is the site loading faster? Leave us a comment or join the conversation on Facebook.
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