- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 18, 2012

A senior U.S. banking executive said Thursday that Iran was behind an ongoing series of massive cyberattacks that have targeted nine major U.S. banks in recent weeks by slowing or interrupting access to their websites.

“Now they’re talking about they sourced it from Iran,” James Rohr, chief executive of PNC Financial Services Group, told CNBC.

It was not clear to whom exactly he was referring. When asked about the origin of his information, he said, “The government have come out and said they’ve traced it to Iran.”

Mr. Rohr said the attack on PNC was the longest on any bank so far and of unprecedented ferocity.

“We were just barraged … they just pummeled us,” he said, adding the attack had lasted for “38 hours straight.”

“No one broke in; nothing was stolen,” the bank executive said, but the disruption made it difficult for customers to use the website.

The attacks, which began last month, use a relatively crude form of cyberweaponry known as Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS. Such attacks bombard targeted Web servers with bogus data requests, blocking access by legitimate customers and users.

Security specialists say the huge volume of data requests the attackers are able to generate indicates a sophisticated operation that is well-planned and well-resourced.

• Shaun Waterman can be reached at swaterman@washingtontimes.com.

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