If your bank's website has been slow or unresponsive in the past couple of weeks it could be the effects of what is being called the largest cyberattack in history.
The attacks — characterized as more sophisticated and organized than previous ones — took the form of an unprecedented increase in traffic to the websites, which essentially overloaded them and effectively rendered them unreachable, according to security experts quoted in an article by CNN Money.
According to the CNN Money report, bank websites targeted include:
- Bank of America
- JPMorgan Chase
- PNC National
- U.S. Bank
- Wells Fargo
While not confirmed by Homeland Security experts, U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) told CNN Money he believes the attacks to be the work of Iran.
"I don't believe these were just hackers who were skilled enough to cause disruption of the websites," he said. "I think this was done by Iran ... and I believe it was a response to the increasingly strong economic sanctions that the United States and our European allies have put on Iranian financial institutions."
Just this week Lieberman, who serves as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, called on President Barack Obama to better secure critical cyber networks. The former Democrat-turned-Independent who hails from Stamford is not seeking re-election this year.
In his letter to the president, dated Sept. 24, Lieberman urges Obama to use his executive authority to instruct the Department of Homeland Security to conduct risk assessments of cyber infrastructure. He writes:
"Now that Congress has recessed until after the elections, I am writing to you about the continuing failure of the Senate to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation. Countless national security leaders from your Administration and the previous Administration have made clear that the threat from cyber attack is similar to the threat we faced from terrorism on September 10, 2001 – the danger is real and imminent, yet we have not acted to defend against it. We know our adversaries are already stealing valuable intellectual property and exploiting our critical infrastructure – those systems that control our water, electricity, transportation, finance, and communications systems – to prepare for attack.
"However, notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence of our nation’s vulnerability to cyber attack and the potential that such an attack could cost significant loss of American lives and treasure, a filibuster in the Senate derailed S. 3414, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. This gridlock threatens to prevent the Senate from passing a cyber bill before the end of this Congress."
Do you think the threat of cyber attack is real and that government needs to do more to protect against it?