The Cyber Attacks Continue: US Bank and PNC Are Newest Targets

Last week we discussed a new form of terrorism – the cyber-attacks that are now targeting many major U.S. financial institutions. At the time of the last blog post, J.P Morgan Chase and Bank of America were the targets of the most recent attacks and the terrorists promised more to come. It seems that the cyber terrorists have held true to their word and the attacks have continued, with U.S. Bank and PNC Bank being the latest victims.

Unlike the cyber-attacks that affected the J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America websites, the U.S. Bank and PNC attacks had more widespread ramifications. It seems that the outage didn’t just cause website downtime that irritated customers. These new attacks actually resulted in paycheck delays for companies that use PNC’s online banking services.

Comair, a company owned by Delta Airlines, was unable to issue paychecks to hundreds of employees until PNC was able to restore its services. While the issues have been resolved and paychecks have been cut, those of us who live from paycheck to paycheck can only imagine what a nightmare this must have been for those who were affected. As one twitter member stated, “All fun and games until someone doesn't get paid.”

The major financial institutions know that they are becoming targets for these terrorists and the havoc is only likely to increase. It doesn’t seem as if the terrorists intend to back off in their efforts to wreak financial havoc in the United States. That doesn’t mean, however, that steps can’t be taken to mitigate the damage that these attacks can cause.

The banking institutions need to get on their guard – hoping for the best but expecting the worst. And when the worst comes, a plan has to be in place to immediately restore services, even if only through temporary measures until the root of the problem can be fixed.

As these attacks affect more and more U.S. citizens, the terrorists are accomplishing their goals. If the websites and web services operated by the banks put proper measures into place, they can help ensure that the attacks made by these terrorists are made in vain and that their customers are not affected.

What will the future hold? Only time will tell. But let’s hope the major financial instructions and other intended targets get on the ball and put plans in place to minimize any damage that these new terrorists are plotting.

If you operate a website, you should also be on guard. As the attacks become more widespread your site may become collateral damage. Make sure you have a backup plan should your host or DNS provider go down as the result of such an attack. If your site does go down, as an Alertra customer you will know about it. Then the ball is in your court to ensure that you put your emergency plan into place to get your site and services back up and running.