Network in Recent Bank Attacks
Washington Free Beacon
Iranian hackers took over a University of Michigan computer network during a massive cyber attack on US financial systems last week that continued following comments on the strike by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
According to reports by a leading Internet security-monitoring firm, the cyber attacks against Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, and several other US financial institutions began Oct. 8 when hackers gained control of the university’s College of Engineering network in Ann Arbor.
The attack then used automated malicious software to simulate hundreds of thousands of attempts by customers to log in to the banks’ remote access portals, resulting in overloading the networks.
Some of the bank’s operations were slowed or otherwise disrupted, and others were halted during the attacks, which a well-placed security analyst said are continuing.
The company and the analyst declined to be identified over concerns that they would become a future target of cyber attackers.
The attacks began with cyber strikes against 75 ports on the Internet and were described as “severe,” continuously repeating strikes. The attacks eventually increased to digital probes on 167 ports. There are a total of 65,535 Internet ports.
At the height of the attacks, the report stated that the Iranian hackers targeted more than 68,500 sites that had produced automated monitoring responses that counted more than 641,000 malicious digital attacks.
The attackers used a method that involved the use of botnets, or zombies, software, and operating methods that covertly take over private or institutional computers remotely by implanting malicious software inside.
According to the report, one of the sources of the attacks originated from the University of Michigan College of Engineering network domain.
“There has been an outbreak of DNS probe [attacks] from what appears to be most, if not all the servers within the University of Michigan (UM) College Of Engineering network domain,” the report said, noting that 26 servers were involved.
The computer specialist said federal authorities were notified of the attacks and contacted the university, which eventually “unplugged” the entire attacking network.
However, the attackers had control over the network for about 24 hours.
The computer specialist said the attacks began falling off Thursday and were expected to end that day, coinciding with traditional Friday prayers in Iran. However, the attacks continued, and are continuing, in apparent reaction to the fact that Panetta confirmed the attacks late last week and threatened to take retaliatory action against major cyber strikes.
The company’s security report from Sunday stated that “the cyber attacks are still extremely severe and at a very high level.”
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