The Iranian regime is behind continuing cyber attacks this week that slowed the websites of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, national security officials told NBC News Friday.
One of the sources said the claim by hackers that the attacks were prompted by the online video mocking the Prophet Mohammed is just a cover story.
- Could US be behind Iran power line blasts?
- Report: Musical cyber attack strikes Iranian nuclear reactors
- Rise in cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in US
The news site said the attack was described by one former US official familiar with the attacks as being "significant and ongoing" and looking to cause "functional and significant damage." Also, one source suggested the attacks were in response to US sanctions on Iranian banks.
On Tuesday many customers discovered that access to the consumer banking website of Bank of America was unavailable, and JPMorgan Chase on Wednesday had the same problems, which multiple sources linked to a denial-of-service attack, in which a website is bogged down by a large number of requests.
A Chase spokesman said Wednesday that the consumer site was intermittently unavailable to some customers, but did not acknowledge then that there was an attack.
On Thursday, Chase said slowness continued but was resolved by late afternoon Eastern Time. Bank of America acknowledged on Tuesday that its site had experienced slowness, but would not say what caused it.
NBC explained that a group of hackers from the Middle East claimed responsibility for the cyber attack. In a statement published online the group explained that their actions came in response to the "Sacrilegious movie" that has caused riots throughout the Muslim world.
But a different source said this was just a cover story to hide the fact that the Iranian government is behind the attack.
Last week a financial services industry group, the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, warned US banks, brokerages and insurers to be on heightened alert for cyber attacks.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop