US Officials Suspect Iran Of Bank DDoS Attacks

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

US and Iran cyber tussles continuing, according to a report

US government officials believe Iran sponsored distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against banking institutions in 2012, which took down websites and online services last year, a report has claimed.

Those officials believe the attacks came in retaliation for US hits on Iran, including the famous Stuxnet strikes of 2010, and economic sanctions, the New York Times reported.

“There is no doubt within the US government that Iran is behind these attacks,” said James A. Lewis, a former official in the State and Commerce Departments. He claimed the traffic seen during the attacks was “multiple times” that of the hits on Estonia back in 2007, which all but took the country off of the global Internet.

DDoS attacks concerning

Iran and the US are believed to be carrying out attacks on each other, with Israel involved too. The US and Israel are suspected of being behind Stuxnet, which disrupted Iran’s nuclear programme, and the sophisticated espionage malware that was Flame.

Back in October, various US banks including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. HSBC was also hit, having been attacked by Anonymous earlier in the year.

In late December, customers of a host of financial institutions said they were unable to access their banks’ websites. Earlier in the month,  the US Treasury Department warned a number of groups were using DDos attacks to slow banks’ responses to account fraud.

But back then, a group calling themselves the Mrt. Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters took credit for the hits, claiming they were doing so in retaliation for the portrayal of Muslims in “Innocence of Muslims”, a controversial video that appeared on YouTube that caused violent protests at US embassies.

It remains unclear who the culprit really is, as even the NYT report said the US officials provided no evidence to back up their claims.

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