By RAPHAEL SATTER, Associated Press –Sep 28, –
U.S. banks have been buffeted by more than a week of powerful cyberattacks, but the mystery surrounding their perpetrators lingers.
One expert said Friday that he was suspicious of claims of responsibility purportedly made by Islamists angry at an anti-Muslim movie made in the United States, explaining that the widely-circulated Internet postings might have been an attempt to deflect attention from the true culprit.
“In the intelligence world, we call that a `false flag,’” said Mike Smith, whose Web security company Akamai has helped analyze some of the attacks.
The postings, published to the Web earlier this month, suggested that an obscure Islamist group had taken revenge on American financial institutions for the “Innocence of Muslims,” a low-budget U.S. film that ridiculed Muhammad, revered by Muslims as the last of God’s prophets.
Since then at least half a dozen banks – including the Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup – have witnessed traffic surges and disruptions. Not all have confirmed they were the victims of an online onslaught, but such surges are a hallmark of denial-of-service attacks, which work by drowning target websites with streams of junk data.