The on-again, off-again cyberattacks on the websites of major American banks will continue for at least another year, says the Islamist hacker group that claims to be behind the attacks.
"We have repeatedly stated that removal of the offensive video, INNOCENCE OF MUSLIMS, from YouTube is the simplest solution to stop the cyber-attacks," the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters said in an online posting that was also emailed to journalists today (Jan. 8).
"But on the other hand, decision-makers in America have adopted the toughest, most expensive and least effective method," the statement continues.
"We say to the people that now, in these unfavorable economic conditions, your capitals in the banks are influenced by childish decisions of some capitalists who do not consider anything but their own interests. Perhaps more attacks make them wiser to be able to choose a simpler solution."
Using a complicated formula based on the number of views, likes and dislikes of the five major YouTube URLs for the "Innocence of Muslims" anti-Islamic video, plus how much the Qassam Cyber Fighters "jury" thinks the banks should pay for the existence of the video, the total "fines" assessed by the hackers come to $2,467,114,300.
"Al-Qassam CF's Jury has voted that USA must pay fines for his evil act based on number of views counted over movie. The detail of this sentence follows," the note explains.
The Qassam Cyber Fighters estimate that each minute a bank's website is affected by the group's distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack costs the bank $30,000. ("If you think we are wrong, then don't hesitate to tell us," they note.)
Hence, if the Cyber Fighters stick to their original schedule of hitting a bank site seven hours per day, three days a week (and subtracting the roughly three weeks of previous attacks), the "fines" will be paid off about 14 months.
"Cyber-attacks of al-Qassam C.F. in recent weeks showed that despite the high cost of U.S. banks to deal with these attacks, the attacks cannot go under control and are unstoppable," the statement says. "Dissatisfaction of customers of the banking services is increasing, but, by contrast, the banks responsibility about the disruptions of their activities is reducing day by day."
American lawmakers and government and corporate security experts claim that the cyberattacks against the banks, which began in September, originate with the government of Iran. No evidence has been put forward to substantiate that claim.
The attacks interrupt communications between the banking sites and visitors to the sites, but have not caused permanent damage.
In their statements posted on the Internet and in communications with the media, the Qassam Cyber Fighters insist that they serve no government and seek only to force Google to remove all instances of the "Innocence of Muslims" video —"both trailer and full version" —from YouTube.