In an interview, the Islamist hackers who've attacked nearly a dozen American bank websites over the past two months deny any links to Iran or to the hacktivist movement Anonymous.
An unnamed member of the Mrt. Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters answered questions posed by reporter Eduard Kovacs of the Romanian computer-security news site Softpedia, who asked the hacker about the group's goals and the way it operates.
Since posting their first manifesto on Pastebin in September, the Qassam Cyber Fighters have demanded that the controversial and offensive trailer for the movie " Innocence of Muslims " be removed from YouTube.
Until that happens, the hackers vow to regularly hit American banks with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which disrupt online activities but don't directly result in damage or data theft.
The al-Qassam representative who spoke to Softpedia said the group was composed of independent hackers whose only mission was to see "Innocence of Muslims" expunged from cyberspace.
"No country supports us," he said. "If the movie is removed, the attacks will be stopped."
The interviewee said the Qassam Cyber Fighters chose to hit the British bank HSBC "as an American bank" and "focused on their U.S. website," even though the attack had collateral effects on sites in other countries.
The Qassam representative said his group had no connection to FawkesSecurity and has not been in cooperation with Anonymous at all. He also denied that the Qassam Cyber Fighters had attacked the U.S. online-only bank Ally Financial, which on Oct. 18 suffered an unexplained series of attacks on its network and website.
Banks targeted by the Qassam Cyber Fighters include Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, U.S. Bank, PNC Bank, Capitol One Bank, SunTrust Bank, Regions Bank and BB&T, plus HSBC.
Not all the banks' websites have been knocked offline, and the group has not resumed its attacks since it gave itself a week off in late October for the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha.