September 28th, 2012
(BlackMediaScoop) This week, cyber attacks on the biggest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co., have breached some of the nation’s most advanced computer defenses and exposed the vulnerability of its infrastructure, said cybersecurity specialists tracking the assaults.
The attack, which a U.S. official said was waged by a still-unidentified group outside the country, flooded bank websites with traffic, rendering them unavailable to consumers and disrupting transactions for hours at a time.
Such a sustained network attack ranks among the worst-case scenarios envisioned by the National Security Agency, according to the U.S. official, who asked not to be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly. The extent of the damage may not be known for weeks or months, said the official, who has access to classified information.
“The nature of this attack is sophisticated enough or large enough that even the largest of the financial institutions would find it difficult to defend against,” Rodney Joffe, senior vice president at Sterling, Virginia-based security firm Neustar Inc. (NSR), said in a phone interview.
While the group is using a method known as distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, to overwhelm financial-industry websites with traffic from hijacked computers, the attacks have taken control of commercial servers that have much more power, according to the specialists.
The assault, which escalated this week, was the subject of closed-door White House meetings in the past few days, according to a private-security specialist who asked not to be identified because he’s helping to trace the attacks.
President Barack Obama’s administration is circulating a draft executive order that would create a program to shield vital computer networks from cyber attacks, two former U.S. officials with knowledge of the effort said earlier this month.
The group started almost two weeks ago with test attacks that triggered multiple alerts. The assault on financial firms began last week, starting with JPMorgan, Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. , moving successively this week to Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp and Thursday, PNC Financial Services Group Inc.