A hacker group said to be connected to Hamas has claimed responsibility for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on US banks in retaliation to the controversial video "The Innocence of Muslims" posted on Google’s YouTube service.
US banking company Wells Fargo has confirmed its website was having difficulties as hundreds of customers complained they were locked out of the banking site.
Wells Fargo is believed to be the latest victim of cyber attacks launched by a group calling itself Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, according to the Guardian.
The DDoS attacks were launched last week under the name Operation Ababil, meaning "swarm". The cyber attacks have already affected banks including JP Morgan and Bank of America. Hundreds of customer found they were unable to access their online accounts on Tuesday.
Investigators say the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters group claimed responsibility for similar attacks launched before the release of the controversial video. Investigators said this suggests the claim that the attacks are linked to the video are a ruse.
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The investigators said that while the DDoS attacks were crude, they were substantial in scale and well coordinated.
The cyber attacks bombarded websites with requests at 100 gigabits a second, compared with rates of 5 to10 gigabits a second more commonly used in DDoS attacks.
Izz ad-Din al-Qassam is the name of the military wing of Hamas, the political party that governs Palestinian territory the Gaza Strip.
In April, a study revealed that financial services firms were targeted by three times as many DDoS attacks in the first quarter of 2012 than in the previous three months.
This represented a 25% increase compared with the same period in 2011.
There was also a 3,000% increase in malicious packet traffic, according to the latest Quarterly Global DDoS Attack Report by security firm Prolexic Technologies.