May 7: Mark Your Calendar (or Not) for Credit Union DDoS Attacks
CUNA made headlines with its warning about a planned May 7th DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service – attack that, said the trade group, was sufficiently worrisome that credit unions had to take steps to be ready.
CUNA attributed the source of word of the threat to “chatter that has been detected."
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What chatter? That turns out to be comments not from the al Qassam Cyber Fighters – the group that has claimed the prior DDoS attacks that have knocked big U.S. banks and several credit unions offline in the past year.
Sources pointed instead to OpUSA, a shadowy hacktivist group that is affiliated with Anonymous.
As for what OpUSA has planned for May 7, the group has offered its commentary on Pastebin, the website of choice for DDoS-related announcements. (Warning: there is substantial off color language here,)
Aside from anti-Israel and anti-Obama commentary, there are no real details of what is planned for May 7.
Anonymous, the supposed manpower behind OpUSA, is a group that has had successful takedowns of public websites – recently the Spanish parliament’s website became a victim. It has documented computer skills at very high levels. But the exact relationship between OpUSA and Anonymous is not presently known.
So, what should a credit union do in the run up to May 7? Experts consulted by Credit Union Times indicated that at this late date, not much could in fact be done to ward off an unknown attacker unleashing an unknown attack vector in a little over a week.
Were budgets unlimited, much could be done, said the experts, but with a typical credit union’s constrained IT budget, many will decide their best course of action is to wait this one out and see exactly what damage transpires on May 7.
In the vast majority of cases, DDoS also has not been associated with data breaches. It has been an outage, plain and simple, noted one expert who indicated it was not that different from going down in an electrical storm.
“Many - most - will decide to take this route,” he said.