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Iran reportedly behind cyber attacks on U.S. banks

The Iranian government is behind cyber attacks this week that have targeted the websites of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, NBC News is reporting, citing national security officials.

The distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, which involve overloading a site with requests, are "significant and ongoing" and intended to cause "functional and significant damage," a former U.S. official told NBC. BofA's consumer banking site was unavailable to some customers Tuesday, and JPMorgan Chase customers had the same trouble Wednesday.

NBC says a group of alleged Middle East hackers has claimed responsibility in a statement posted on Pastebin, saying the attacks were in retaliation for the YouTube video mocking the prophet Mohammed. But a source said that was just "a cover" for the Iranian government.

Late Wednesday, the industry's Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center warned members about the cyber attacks and raised its cyber threat level from "elevated" to "high."

Issues of concern include the recent credible intelligence regarding the potential for DDoS and other cyber attacks against financial institutions (Advisory ID: 2012-09-037). Additionally, Microsoft is aware of targeted attacks via active exploitation of a zero-day remote code execution vulnerability in Internet Explorer (Advisory ID: 2012-09-035). Members should maintain a heightened level of awareness, apply all appropriate updates and update AV and IDS/IPS signatures, and ensure constant diligence in monitoring and quick response to any malicious events.