NBC News and news services
Nov 30, 2006
WASHINGTON - The U.S. government has notified U.S. private financial
services of a call for a cyber attack against U.S. online stock trading
and banking Web sites beginning Friday, officials said.
Almost immediately, however, other officials downplayed the risk of any
danger to U.S. financial institutions.
NBC News' Pete Williams reported that a unit of the Homeland Security
Department sent out an advisory to banks, saying that a jihadist Web
site posted an aspirational item, which said it would be a good thing to
carry out cyber attacks on the U.S. financial industry to retaliate for
abuses at the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
The item was one posting on a Web site that expressed a desire, and is
not thought to be in any way imminent or actual.
Two officials a person familiar with the warning and a spokesman for the
Department of Homeland Security said the group aimed to penetrate and
destroy the databases of the U.S. stock market and banking Web sites.
Homeland Security said it had no evidence to corroborate the threat but
had issued the warning out of an "abundance of caution." The department
said in a statement that the threat was for all of December.
"There is no information to corroborate this aspirational threat. As a
routine matter and out of an abundance of caution, US-CERT issued the
situational awareness report to industry stakeholders," said Homeland
Security spokesman Russ Knocke.
US-CERT is the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team. The U.S.
government said the threat was to avenge the holding of suspected
terrorists at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Official concern about the matter is low, NBC's Williams reported.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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