Banks fend off cyberattacks

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Money > Financial institutions not immune to security issues and scams

By Arin McKenna

Second of a two-part series

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that major U.S. banks are seeking government action to stop or mitigate intensifying cyberattacks against American banking institutions. Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup are some of a dozen major institutions targeted since early 2011.

The attacks have largely been in the form of distributed denial-of-service, using a network of infected computers to overwhelm computer systems and disrupt websites. The volume of the attacks is 10 to 20 times greater than previously recorded denial-of-service intrusions.

Financial institutions have spent millions of dollars responding to the assaults. Washington officials attribute the attacks to the Iranian government, which denies involvement.

Concern about the attacks intensified in September when the FBI published a fraud alert warning financial institutions that cyber criminals may be using DDoS to mask fraudulent wire transfers.

The alert warned that criminals were using social engineering techniques such as spam and phishing emails to target financial institution employees, hoping to gain access to internal networks and steal employee and administrative credentials. The intruders could then control all aspects of a wire transaction, including approval.

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