Iran May Be Behind Cyber Attacks Aimed at U.S. Banks

Cyber attacks against U.S. banks in recent days may have been carried out by Iran’s government, Senator Joseph Lieberman said.

“I don’t believe that these were just hackers,” Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, said in an interview with C-SPAN’s “Newsmaker” program. “I think that this was done by Iran and the Qods force, which has its own developing cyber attack capacity. And I believe it was a response to the increasingly strong economic sanctions that the United States and our European allies have put on Iranian financial institutions.”

Lieberman said the attacks were targeted at JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Bank of America Corp. He wouldn’t disclose why he believes that the Iranian government and its elite Qods Force, an arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, were behind the attacks.

“I don’t want to put it forward as a conclusion of the intelligence community yet,” Lieberman said in the interview set to air on Sept. 23. He said “there’s more than just theory -- there’s some basis for believing that this was an Iranian sponsored attack.”

NBC News this week cited national security officials it didn’t identify as saying the Iranian government was behind “denial-of-service” attacks on the banks. Such attacks are intended to overwhelm a website by flooding it with requests.

The banking industry’s Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis center posted a warning on its website dated Sept. 19 that warned of “recent credible intelligence regarding” potential cyber attacks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Strohm in Washington at cstrohm1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net; Katherine Rizzo at krizzo5@bloomberg.net

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