PNC Bank has been experiencing technical problems over the past few weeks.
The most recent problems include the failure to properly track purchases (instead of listing the correct location, it appears merely as a “misc. withdrawal” on the online banking app) as well as customers having difficulties accessing their accounts online or through the mobile banking app.
Many Mercyhurst students use PNC as their bank.
These difficulties have left many customers angry, partially because of the difficulties themselves, but also because of the reason for them: They’re the result of cyber-attacks against the bank.
A hacker group known as the “al-Qassam Fighters” has been launching a series of denial-of-service attacks against PNC Bank over the past year.
For those who don’t know what those attacks are, denial-of-service is the use of multiple computers to overload a server with requests, and shutting it down in the process.
Imagine you have a group of people trying to enter a room through one door: if one person goes through at a time, everyone gets in, but if every single person tries to slam their way through the door then no one gets to enter the room.
Denial-of-service is accomplishing the same task: blocking access to the server, often for a certain purpose.
The al-Qassam Fighters are implementing these attacks against PNC and other banks in order to convince the American public that a video mocking the Prophet Muhammad should be removed from the Internet.
It is likely that the al-Qassam Fighters are not implementing these attacks to steal money, using the video as a kind of side motive.
Ideologically-driven groups of their nature aren’t doing this for money, and besides that, there is a great deal that Iran is funding and supporting the group.
What this means for the average PNC customer is that their money is unlikely to be in trouble, but they’re going to be in for a bit of a rough time until PNC gets their security up to par to make these DoS attacks a non-issue.