News Column

Hacking Group Says It Has Suspended Cyberattacks on Banks

Jan. 29, 2013

Alex Nixon, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Cyberattacks on many of America's largest banks have been suspended after an Internet video offensive to Muslims was taken down, according to the computer hacking group that had claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The group, al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, posted a message Tuesday to an Internet message board stating the video that had mocked the Islamic Prophet Muhammad was removed from YouTube.

"The al-Qassam cyber fighters lauds this positive measure of YouTube and on this basis suspends his operation and plans to give a time to Google and U.S. government to remove the other copies of film as well," the group said on "During the suspension of Operation Ababil, no attack to U.S. banks would take place by al-Qassam cyber fighters."

The bank attacks, known as distributed denial of service attacks, flood a website with traffic, which overwhelms the site and makes it inaccessible to legitimate users. Since September, more than two dozen banks were hit in the assault, including PNC Bank , Citizens Bank , Fifth Third Bank and Huntington Bank in the Pittsburgh region.

While al-Qassam Cyber Fighters claimed to be launching the attacks in protest of the "Innocence of Muslims" video, which had received more than 17 million views online, some government officials, bank executives and Internet security experts suspected the Iranian government was behind the attacks.

The YouTube page for the video states that it was "removed by the user."

Alex Nixon is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

Source: (c)2013 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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