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Bank cyber attacks a huge industry issue

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When Bank of America and JP Morgan started experience slowdowns in their web sites, people didn't react vociferously one way or the other.

The fact is that web site slowdowns are not uncommon. Slowdowns happen frequently in fact when companies push out new code. But  just recently, the web site slowdown took a sinister turn when the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, known as FS-ISAC, raised the cyber threat level to "high" from "elevated" in an advisory to members, citing "recent credible intelligence regarding the potential" for cyber attacks as the reason, according to Reuters.

Soon, it was apparent that a large-scale denial-of-service attacks had been launched against big banks, and the list of targets quickly expanded. Network security has been a big issue for much of the year, and many have suggested that APT attacks against banks were more likely, as state actors probe for banks for weaknesses, though the ultimate goal is unclear.

Then again, this could all amount to a misdirection play. The FBI has warned that the attacks on web sites were mere diversions to provide cover for criminals as they attempt large, illicit cash transfers. Clouding the picture is the possibility that politics is coming into play.

"An unidentified person posted a statement on the Internet threatening to attack Bank of America and the New York Stock Exchange as a 'first step' in a campaign against U.S. companies. The posting said the attacks would continue until the film that had stirred up anti-U.S. protests across the Middle East was 'erased' from the Internet."

All this has fueled a sense that all companies are vulnerable right now. Cyber security is all of a sudden on the front burner again. One lawmaker is seeking information directly from 500 CEOs. -Jim