Iran behind massive hack attack on U.S. banks

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In the good old days, a CIO had to fortify his or her firm's data from disgruntled employees or a lone hacker looking for credit cards or social security numbers.

But according to the New York Times, the men and women who oversee security inside today's leading financial firms have to brace against a coordinated hack attack from rogue nations. In the most recent case, that nation is Iran.

The NY Times reports that a number of US banks -- many with institutional investment and wealth managements divisions -- were subject to thorough, precise and intelligent attacks by hackers originating from Iran. The targeted firms include Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp, PNC, Capital One, Fifth Third Bank, BB&T and HSBC.

Although no money was taken, U.S. officials suspect that Iran is behind the attacks because the targets were data centers in the U.S. and the attacks appeared to be on disrupting business instead of stealing actual funds. This is apparently a hallmark of state-sponsored cyber terrorism.

"There is no doubt within the U.S. government that Iran is behind these attacks," says James A. Lewis, a former official in the State and Commerce Departments and a computer security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

A hacker group calling itself Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters has claimed in online posts that it was responsible for the attacks, reports the Times.

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