From the Security Experts

February 13, 2012

Hackers Launch Denial of Service Attack against Brazil's Largest Bank

By Contributing Writer

Banco do Brasil, Brazil’s largest state-run bank, suffered a major denial of service attack last Wednesday. The group Anonymous Brasil claimed responsibility for the attack, which is the third attack against a major Brazilian financial institution in a week.

“Attention sailors: Target hit! ... Banco do Brasil is sinking. TANGO DOWN,” claimed the group in a Twitter post. The attacks are designed to call attention to the “corruption and inequality in Brazil,” according to a video posted on the UOL Internet news portal depicting a male in a mask similar to that used in the movie V for Vendetta.

Last Monday, Anonymous Brasil attacked the country’s largest private sector bank, the Itau Unibanco Banco Multiplo SA. The next day, it attacked Banco Bradesco SA, the country’s second largest private bank. The attack on Banco do Brasil occurred the following day. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks flood websites with countless numbers of false users, slowing down and overloading the server.

Brazil is not the only country whose institutions have been target by Anonymous. In the United States, the group launched a massive attack against the CIA’s website on February 11. Anonymous has also crashed the websites of the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. The group even hacked into a conference call between the FBI and Scotland Yard discussing the challenges of finding and stopping Anonymous, posting the audio from the call online.

In other attacks that occurred last Friday, Anonymous launched a DDoS attack against websites for both Mexico’s mining industry and the State of Alabama. The group had hit targets in Alabama before when it released the names, addresses and social security numbers of over 1,000 Birmingham police officers. A similar release of information occurred in Boston last October, when the group went after the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association.

“We are aware of the problems accessing our website, and we are working to resolve them,” CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood stated on CNN.

Anonymous was coy about the CIA attack. In their Twitter feed, they posted, “We'd remind media that if we report a hack or ddos attack, it doesn't necessarily mean we did it...FYI.”

Jacqueline Lee is a TMCnet contributor who produces web content, blogs and articles for numerous websites including Her background is in business and education.

Edited by Rich Steeves