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Cyber Attacks Hit Online Banking Sites

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - David Childs, a Dallas composer, is never far from his laptop. He uses it for banking, correspondence, even composing. But, he and millions of customers across North Texas and the nation this week have been faced with slowed response times on many banking sites.

“I did notice it has been a little bit slow,” says Childs. “I just put it down to regular slow traffic.”

But, internet security experts say online traffic to some of the nation’s largest banks has been slowed because of a massive cyber attack intended to jam access to those sites. It’s called a D-D-O-S: distributed denial of service.

“And that’s where they don’t really break into or hack into the bank systems, so information is not compromised. However, it’s like someone blocking the door to the bank,” says Professor Amit Basu. Professor Basu holds the Carr Collins Chair in Management Information Systems at SMU’s Cox School of Business.

He says although no individual accounts were compromised, these attacks are still taken seriously in the business community because customer confidence in the online arena is critical. “It’s a serious concern, because these are the kinds of attacks that are very difficult to prevent… it’s scary.”

The source of the attack is believed to be outside the country. But, efforts to link the attack to unrest in the Middle East have been called premature.

Bottom line: customers like David Childs say the occasional disruption won’t scare them away. The convenience of online banking is hard to resist.

“I don’t know what we’d do without banking online. I don’t think we’d survive quite as well, so. “

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