Hacked through the Clouds

By | Saturday, 23 February 2013 | Business

A series of cyber-assaults have recently targeted various banks all over the United States. A type of malware dubbed ‘itsokaynoproblembro’ or Brobot has reportedly been in action for a number of years, operating under the radar of various anti-virus programs. However, it is only recently that the virus has directly affected the cloud platforms and data centers that help run day-to-day transactions of several banks and in effect the people.

What They Know

According to the New York Times, the attacks were traced back to thousands of data centers from different parts of the world. Radware, the group that traced it, said that these data centers are cloud servers. A virus named Itsoknoproblembro infiltrated the system. This virus was able to cloak itself to bypass the most sophisticated antivirus software. It is an old virus but this is the first time it was used on banks via the data centers.

Since the virus attacked the data centers directly, it was able to hinder transactions from pushing through. That means that While the virus has not interfered or stolen any amount of money, it is programmed to hinder the services of banks, a type of attack known as “Ddos” or, a distributed denial of service. Implanted in several of the data centers that run the cloud platforms of many companies, Brobot floods the systems with numerous requests and actions. It is a relatively harmless act. However, the prolonged actions of the sort lead to sluggish systems and eventually, crashing of the bank’s services to the customers.

Who is Responsible?

A hacker group named Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters have already laid claim to the recent cyber-skirmish. They have stated that these attacks on the banks of America stem from an anti-Moslem video directed at the defacement of the prophet Muhammad and that they will not stop until the propaganda has been totally erased from the web.

However, several U.S. government and security agents believe that this group is merely a façade that is meant to draw focus from the real culprits — the Iranian government. They state that the fact the virus has not tampered with the people’s money and only disrupts services is evidence that the hackers have a tie-in with a government agency. Apart from this fact, they also believe that this is an act of vengeance on the side of Iran.

In the year 2010, a malware was discovered by the Iranians as well. The government of U.S. and Isreali dispatched their own virus named Stuxnet in order to control and monitor files of Iran’s nuclear facilities. Thus, various security and government agents of America view the Brobot as an act of retaliation on their part. However, they have no concrete proof on the matter.

Cloud Cut Both Ways

Many experts are saying that an attack via data centers is something expected. As technology and digital security increase become more sophisticated, so are hackers. Now, whoever is going to progress faster. One thing is for sure, the cloud is where the war is going to happen. Whoever wins it, wins the war. It is expected for data center traffic to shoot up to 6.6 zettabytes by 2018. That is 6.6 zettabytes worth of hacking opportunity.

It is indeed important to assign a culprit to every crime, for everyone must undertake due penance for these acts. These recent events have revealed even greater facts. The recent Brobot attack acknowledges that dependence and importance of Cloud Platforms is steadily on the rise today. But more importantly, it is that these systems, while intangible, are still susceptible to crimes and attacks. This should be a signal for digital security experts to move faster, think faster and get to the future before hackers do.

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