Website Down: PNC Bank Under Heavy Denial of Service Attack This Past Week

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In the past seven days, 59 downtime reports were filed for problems with on, a website that tracks online outages. In the last 30 days, 112 downtime reports were filed as of 3:55 p.m. Friday, January 4, 2013.

Pittsburgh-based PNC said it believes the situation is an “access issue not an issue of account security” and said its website is “protected by sophisticated encryption strategies that shield customer information and accounts.”

PNC said it has “taken steps to block” the nefarious traffic and “maintain online and mobile banking access for the vast majority of its customers.” However, the bank said “in some cases” those countermeasures may have shut out a “small percentage of legitimate PNC customers for an extended period.”

U.S. banks in recent months have been responding to denial of service (DDoS) style attacks that can slow or even shut off online access for customers.

Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo have also been targeted in recent months.

Intel subsidiary McAfee issued a warning last month of a “credible attack” called Project Blitzkrieg, which is set for the Spring and involves Russian hackers targeting investment and national banks through fraudulent transactions.

A hacking board user named “vorVzakone” is reported to have been looking for recruits for a campaign against US banks, credit unions, and investment houses. The user claims to have made $5m from a similar job in 2008 and posted malware screenshots of the code to be used.

At first McAfee labs thought the user was a sting agent from a Russian security service, but after studying malware logs and other investigations, McAfee labs suspect that the threat may be real, and that Capital One, Fidelity, E*Trade, Charles Schwab, PayPal, Citibank, Wachovia, Wells Fargo are believed to be at risk.

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