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Capital One Confirms Denial of Service Attack

10 October 2012 by

Capital One Confirms Denial of Service Attack

If you were thinking that the denial of service attacks that plagued several of the nation’s largest banks in recent weeks were behind us, think again. Capital One confirmed on Tuesday that it was hit in this newest round of cyber attacks that have been, to date, very targeted and definitely successful.

Not only that, but two more banks, Sun Trust Banks and Regions Financial have released statements of their certainty that they’re next in line by the so-far unconfirmed group that’s wreaked havoc on the American banking sector for more than a month.

Capital One spokesperson, Pam Girardo, announced that the bank’s massive online systems were brought down on Tuesday with only intermittent access for most of the day; however, she also said that most of the bank’s online services were up and going again by late that afternoon. In her announcement, she reported,

At this point, we have no reason to believe that customer and account information is at risk.

These technological assaults are just the latest in a string of efforts that have brought some of the world’s biggest banks to their collective knees. The disruptions so far have been both temporary and with no vulnerabilities to the banks’ customers.

Who’s responsible

You may recall we’ve been reporting on a group that refers to itself as Izz ad-Din al-Quassam Cyber Fighters. This group has claimed responsibility for the attacks in several different statements posted to one specific website, pastebin.com. The group initially began its attacks with self-serving justifications over a YouTube video that the group says is an insult to Muslims. While the attacks so far haven’t compromised consumer accounts, they have proven to be frustrating for both bank officials and those consumers.

These latest attacks began much the way the previous ones day – with a sudden slow down on the consumer side of the website. Soon, the outages began and by late afternoon, it appeared the worse was over for Capital One. Now, other banks have received notices that they will be targeted later in the week. This, according to a blog post from Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters on Monday, which said it would target Capital One on Tuesday, followed by Sun Trust Bank on Wednesday and Regions Financial on Thursday. Both banks are gearing up for the attacks.

A Step Ahead

The question is whether or not law enforcement and security analysts can close in on the head start the group always manages to keep. All of these banks have assured their customers that they were doing everything they could to prevent the hacks; however, in not one instance was the group not able to penetrate the networks. The same reassurances are coming from the banks that are now in the crosshairs. A spokesman for SunTrust, which, as we mentioned, is slated to begin later on Wednesday, continued to assure customers of its commitment to safety and that it is

aware of the threat and are working to mitigate any disruption to our clients should an attack occur.

That said, and despite many questions from the media, all of the banks involved in today’s strike and are expected to face the same formidable group later in the week declined to offer specifics.

Remember, Capital One is currently ranked number 12 in terms of size and it has often been at the forefront of all the improvements in recent years that make online shopping and banking much safer processes. Then again, several larger banks couldn’t offset the efforts and now Capital One joins ranks with banks Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase as well as the New York Stock Exchange – all of which has been the recipient of these uninvited and invasive hacks.

Lieberman Effect

In the meantime, Senator Joe Lieberman, the chairman of the Homeland Security and Government, continues to insist it’s not a hacking group, but rather, an entire country that’s behind these attacks. Two weeks ago, he said,

I don’t believe these were just hackers.

He then went on to say he believes Iran is behind the attacks, and specifically, he said Qods is not only responsible for these bank attacks, but that it’s also developing a sophisticated cyber attack capacity. He also continues to push for new legislation that could improve network defenses of those financial networks that are privately owned, utilities and chemical plants. Even with these concerns, the senate recently failed to pass even a mostly lukewarm version of the bill he authored using the attacks as examples of “powerful examples of our vulnerability”. Senator Lieberman continues to monitor the attacks.

Like past attacks, this week, the group – whoever they are – said they would once again kick things into high gear for eight ours a day until the video on You Tube is taken down for good.

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