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Banks Suffer Record Downtime From DDoS Attacks: Report

In a report provided to NBC News by Keynote Systems, the banking industry is setting records of the wrong sort, more than doubling their downtime metrics from this time last year. At the same time it isn’t really their fault, each of the banks covered by Keynote’s report are targets of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, an Iranian group behind a series of DDoS campaigns over the last seven months.

In a report provided to NBC News by Keynote Systems, the banking industry is setting records of the wrong sort, more than doubling their downtime metrics from this time last year. At the same time it isn’t really their fault, each of the banks covered by Keynote’s report are targets of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, an Iranian group behind a series of DDoS campaigns over the last seven months.

Earlier this year, SecurityWeek wrote about the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, a hacktivist group that has claimed responsibility for a wave of DDoS attacks against large financial institutions since last summer.

Research into the group’s methods suggested the use of hijacked datacenter accounts, and not large botnets, in order to pull off their massive DDoS campaigns. Unfortunately, this means that the full scale of their DDoS might hasn’t been fulfilled based on some of the reports from earlier attacks; while effective; this group’s attacks are nowhere near the size of the recent attack against Spamhaus.

As of April 3, the DDoS attack campaigns continued. The targets are rotated weekly, as the group has yet to halt operations for any steady period. They mostly take breaks to spread propaganda for a short time, before launching a new DDoS attack. This week, the group said that they would attack American Express, Citizens Financial, Ameriprise Financial, KeyCorp, BB&T and Bank of America.

In the past six weeks, Keynote’s report (first covered by NBC News, now available in-part online), showed tha major U.S. banks have suffered a total of 249 hours of downtime.

This amounts to roughly 2-percent of their overall uptime reports, a jump from the one-percent downtime reported just last year.

The reason this is news is because the banks included in the report are all victims of Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. The data from Keynote represents one of those rare times when real-time data can show the impact a sustained DDoS attack has on a business.

The banks most affected by DDoS related outages are BB&T, Chase, HSBC, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and PNC.

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