March 12, 2013 at 6:38 PM ET
The website of Chase Bank was inaccessible on Tuesday because of a denial-of-service attack. The initial service interruption to Chase.com lasted about 90 minutes, from about 5 to 6:30 p.m. ET.
When the site did load intermittently during that time, it displayed a warning that the website was unavailable and users should try again later.
Chase confirmed that the outage was due to a denial-of-service attack, in which attackers bombard websites with an overwhelming amount of traffic, overloading their servers and causing sluggish performance or a complete loss of service.
The hacking group taking responsibility, which calls itself al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, announced its intentions to hack a number of banks in this manner several months ago, and has targeted Bank of America, Citibank, Capitol One, and others. The group cites what it sees as U.S. refusal to remove a YouTube video grossly offensive to those who practice Islam.
The video in question is "Innocence of Muslims," a film trailer depicting the prophet Muhammad as, among other things, a murderer and pedophile. Muslim states such as Egypt and Yemen have called for the video to be removed, but Google-owned YouTube has said the video is well within its guidelines. Although Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, described the video as "disgusting and reprehensible," she supported the decision, as representative of the U.S.'s commitment to its citizens' right to free expression.
Al-Qassam Cyber Fighters have pledged to discontinue their attacks if the video is removed, or if the conditions of a complicated formula are met regarding the video's like and dislike counts.
UPDATE: Following the publication of this article, Chase.com manifested continued outages, appearing more often for some than others. As of this writing, the site is not loading at all, and while the site was up, banking services were not yet restored.
UPDATE 2: Chase.com is back to full functionality. The bank apologized on Twitter for the "rough day."
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.