PNC Bank’s website was disrupted on Thursday by a group of Islamic hactivists who have also claimed responsibility for downing the sites this week of Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank.
The latest attack is identical to the other two in that hundreds of thousands of computers are used to overwhelm the sites’ bandwidth, said Atif Mushtaq, a security researcher for FireEye who has been monitoring the attacks.
Islamic hacktivists’ bank hacking claims gaining credibility
The hactivists also claim to be behind the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks last week against Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, as well as U.S. bank yesterday.
PNC has confirmed the attack. Spokesman Fred Solomon told The Chicago Tribune that the disruption affected some online customers. “We are working to restore full service to everyone,” he said.
Based on the kind of traffic Mushtaq has seen, the banks’ sites are being overwhelmed by requests from the computers of supporters of the hacktivists. The group, which calls itself “Mrt. Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters,” has used social networks, including Goolge+ [sic]; underground sites, and their own website to recruit sympathizers.
“I’m not surprised that there are thousands and thousands of people performing this type of DDoS,” Mushtaq said….
The hactivists have said that the attacks are in retaliation for a video trailer denigrating the Prophet Muhammad. The amateurish YouTube video made in the U.S. has sparked violent protests in the Middle East and other regions….
While he hasn’t monitored the recent attacks, Rachwald said he believes the attackers are much more sophisticated. An indication of that is the fact that the hactivists posted warnings in advance, naming the targeted banks. Nevertheless, the banks were unable to prevent disruption.