Bank Websites Under Attack!

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28 September 2012
Jacob Jegher
A rash of denial of service attacks hit major US banks this week. These are scary incidents that wreak havoc for banks and their customers. For now at least, these attacks appear to be limited to online sites, and are therefore interrupting the online banking activities of the US public. Online banking is a mainstream channel - one that cannot be interrupted. Furthermore, online disruptions shake consumer confidence and can damage a bank's reputation - financial institutions are trusted entities that are supposed to be safeguarding assets. If they can't keep the front door locked, what does this mean for the deposits stored on the inside? What can financial institutions do and what does this mean for customers?
  • Reassure and communicate regularly with the public. This was a serious issue when Chase had a major web site outage last year. Tweet, get onto Facebook, reply directly to customers. Don't just listen, watch, or provide generic replies with basic info. Address customers, point them to channels that do work, direct them to nearby branches, have customer service reps call them. This is easier said than done as call centers are overloaded. PNC, the latest bank to come under attack has but a handful of tweets today - all very generic.
  • pnc

  • Be prepared for round two. Right now these attacks appear to be concentrating on bank web sites. Could a completely different type of attack (e.g. a data breach) take place in the next round of cyberwarfare? Banks definitely have to be on the lookout for this. It wouldn't surprise me to see hands try to enter the cookie jar in an attempt to steal customer information and/or assets. This isn't happening right now, but banks have to be prepared for what could happen next.

No matter how you look at this, these attacks are terrible. We live in a world where consumers have come to rely on digital transactions (and they should). Attacks like these shake consumer confidence, and eat up precious bank IT dollars that are already quite scarce. Please feel free to chime in with your comments.


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