The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, the mysterious attackers who blocked access to the websites of six major U.S. banks over the course of 10 days, are launching attacks again after having taken a week off.
"The timetable for October's second week attack program is announced," read a posting by the Cyber Brigades on Pastebin.com. "Tuesday 10/9/2012 : attack to Capital One Financial Corp site, capitalone.com. Wednesday 10/10/2012 : attack to SunTrust Banks, Inc, suntrust.com. Thursday 10/11/2012 : attack to Regions Financial Corp site, regions.com."
The Capital One website was indeed under attack this afternoon (Oct. 9), although TechNewsDaily had no problem reaching it at about 5:45 p.m. Eastern time.
The Cyber Brigades, a k a the Qassam CyberFighters, previously launched directed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, PNC Bank and Citigroup.
DDoS attacks swamp Web servers with huge numbers of requests for data that are difficult to fulfill, overwhelming the servers and rendering targeted sites unreachable. They're technically simple and cause little damage, and various groups have used them as a form of protest.
Major banks' websites are normally well protected against such attacks, but the Qassam CyberFighters seem to be using new methods, possibly involving hijacked servers, that greatly increase their firepower.
The group has said it plans to keep hitting U.S. banks until YouTube removes the anti-Islamic clip " Innocence of Muslims," which has led to violence in the Islamic world.
"All Muslims and free-minded people around the world protested this absurd action but their complaints were not addressed," read the latest message by the group, posted yesterday.
"With the Queen of England family's complaint against an insulting photo published in the French magazines the photo was removed immediately," the message read, referring to topless photos, still easily found online, of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. "But you did not care about the demands of Muslims and called the fighter groups' activities terrorist attacks."
Addressing the United States, the message says, "Money is all your respect. Money is all your holiness. Money is all of your value. Money is all of your glory. Money is all your humanity. Money is all of your life. Money is all of your honor. Money is all your existence. Money is everything for you. For this reason, attack to your financial centers will be continued."
When the bank attacks began three weeks ago, there was speculation that they might be a smokescreen for professional criminals trying to break into online accounts. A similar scheme involving banking Trojans was in fact discovered last week, but the Cyber Fighters disavowed any connection.
"It is necessary to mention that the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam group has no relation with recent Trojan-based attacks which aims the people's electronic money transfers," the message read. "Our activities are only against the insulting movie mentioned above."