September 29, 2022

Citibank Credit Card Site Down – Full Scale Hacker Attack?

Good luck to anyone trying to access their Citi credit card online.  Since at least early Sunday evening, online access to credit card holders has been impossible.  The only explanation from Citi for the site being down is a short notice, as follows:

SPECIAL NOTICE:
Portions of our website are currently being affected by intermittent outages. We are working to restore full functionality and apologize for any inconvenience.

Trying to apply online for a new Citi credit card?  Good luck with that as well, since the access is unavailable.  According to a message on the Citi site, the only explanation provided was as follows:

AccountOnline Temporarily Unavailable

AccountOnline Temporarily Unavailable
For immediate assistance with an existing account, call the number on the back of your card
or the customer service number shown on your statement. If you want to apply for a card,
please try again later.

We apologize for any inconvenience

us-under-attack1

Citi cards are provided by one of the world’s biggest banks, Citigroup, which provides Citi-branded credit cards through its Citicorp subsidiary.  Citicorp’s credit card operations span the globe providing credit cards to millions of consumers.  The fact that the Citi card website has been down for well over 24 hours, with little explanation from the bank, suggests that a major hacker attack may be underway.

The largest banks in the U.S. including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup have been under “denial of service” attack for the past year as hackers overwhelm a bank’s website with a flood of external communication requests.

According to Reuters, the latest hacker attacks on America’s largest banks originated in Iran.  The attacks have exposed major vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial system and many fear that the denial of service attacks may be cover for something far more serious.  According to Reuters, it is unknown if the attacks have severely damaged computer networks or if critical data has been stolen.

Bank of America, JPMorgan and Citigroup declined to comment, as did officials with the Pentagon, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency and Secret Service.

A U.S. financial services industry group this week warned banks, brokerages and insurers to be on heightened alert for cyber attacks after the websites of Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase’s experienced unexplained service disruptions.

Attacks by various groups on official government and financial websites has become more brazen and successful. In early October, the website of the Swedish central bank as well as several other government authorities were taken offline after an attack by the hacker collective know as Anonymous.

The potential catastrophic damage that a successful full scale cyber attack on the United States would have was recently described as “a cyber Pearl Harbor” by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

“A cyber attack perpetrated by nation states or violent extremist groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack of 9/11. Such a destructive cyber terrorist attack could paralyze the nation…These attacks mark a significant escalation of the cyber threat. And they have renewed concerns about still more destructive scenarios that could unfold…[C]yber threats are every bit as real as more well-known threats like terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation, and the turmoil in the Middle East…This is a pre-9/11 moment. The attackers are plotting…The collective result of these kinds of attacks could be ‘cyber Pearl Harbor’: an attack that would cause physical destruction and loss of life, paralyze and shock the nation, and create a profound new sense of vulnerability.”

Although the United States has poured billions of dollars into attempts to thwart potentially crippling cyber attacks, the latest continuing series of successful hacker attacks shows that we are still extremely vulnerable.

Comments

  1. So is this happening again at Citibank or what? The Level 2 Tech I spoke to there is claiming that they decided to do a major internal update (on 12/26? Yeah, okay) and it just got really screwed up. Frankly, I’d rather hear that they got hacked than to believe that their IT people are so incompetent that a simple (their word, not mine) internal update turned into a cyberfail of record proportions (they think they’ll be back up by tomorrow at 8 a.m. Central).

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