PNC Bank experienced a possible denial of service attack on Friday when many customers discovered that they couldn’t access their accounts online.
PNC addressed the issue on its Facebook page with a series of updates to keep customers informed. They noted that some but not all customers were having trouble using online and mobile services to access their accounts.
By late Friday night, they announced that both services were 100 percent restored and that no one’s account information had been compromised.
PNC Bank didn’t speculate on the cause of the apparent denial-of-service attack, stating only that they were investigating. However, the banking press pointed out that on Tuesday, the Al Qassam Cyber Fighters — a group that has consistently taken credit for an ongoing string of denial-of-service attacks going back to 2012 — said Tuesday that they would soon launch attacks on several banks.
American Banker said that the Al Qassam hit list included, ” Regions, M&T Bank, Unionbank, Principal Financial, Ameriprise, State Street, Citizens Financial, and Wells Fargo.”
While PNC isn’t listed, there’s no law that says that cyber attackers can’t use misdirection. PNC has been targeted before. Also, another financial institution not on the list, Charles Schwab, was also recently hit by a denial-of-service attack.
As with the PNC attack, genuine customers were blocked from getting access to their accounts, but the attackers couldn’t enter the accounts either. Therefore, investigators compared the cyber attack to a real life crime like vandalism rather than to bank robbery — a nuisance rather than a serious financial threat.
A denial-of-service attack is arranged when the cyber criminals artificially create a very high level of traffic going to a site. Overloaded, the site then crashes and legitimate customers can’t get service.
Your online and mobile access to PNC Bank should now be working. If not, you should immediately inform PNC.
[photo by Zeljko Radojko via Shutterstock]