U.S. warns of possible financial cyber attack

U.S. warns of possible financial cyber attack
U.S. warns of possible financial cyber attack 

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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