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The Potential Idiocy of Online Banking on May 7th, 2013

CUNA (Credit Union National Association), a national organization of credit unions, is warning of a potential DDoS attack against their web sites and other systems on May 7th, 2013. They are urging their members to conduct business either on another date, or in person at a local branch. The reasoning behind this warning is based on recent Internet chatter.

A DDoS, or Distributed Denial of Service, attack happens when several computers send traffic to targeted systems with the intent of overloading that system and rendering it unusable. In many cases, a DDoS attack can be used as a diversion while a more insidious attack, intended to break into, or commit fraud on another system occurs. In most cases, the systems which are performing the DDoS attack are members of a bot net. Systems that have been infecting with malware in the form of a virus or trojan. Most owners of these systems remain blissfully unaware of the fact that their system is infected, just sitting idly by waiting for instructions from a bot-herder, a system used to issue instructions to the infected bot net systems. Once the instruction is given, the infected system will carry out the instructions. The end user of this system may notice slowing of their system, but other than that there will be no other way for the average user to know that their system is participating in the attack.

So what can the average user do? As always make sure A/V is installed and up to date, but this is not a guarantee against infection since A/V works off of signatures for known malware. Ensure that all recommended updates on browsers and other installed software are installed. In most cases, updates contain fixes for known vulnerabilities that could be used to install malware on the system. Any unused systems, particularly older Windows systems that may have an older OS or browser should be powered off when not in use.

Credit Union members should also ensure that they heed this warning and plan to not do any online banking on May 7th.

Article from CU Times available here:

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