Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) website that witnessed sporadic outages Tuesday owing to "claimed cyber attacks" linked with protests against screening of the film "Innocence of Muslims," seemed to have recovered some lost ground. Early Wednesday, the website download speed appeared to make gradual progress toward servicing regular user traffic.
Earlier, reports published in Reuters noted how the Bank of America's online portal suffered problems arising from threats posed by Islamic hacker groups, which announced plans to launch cyber attacks against the bank and other targets in the U.S. as a sign of protest against the film "Innocence of Muslims," the screening of which had resulted in massive unrest in the Middle East.
"This attack will continue until the Erasing of that nasty movie. Beware this attack can vary in type," a statement on an internet bulletin board pastebin.com, screamed, according to Reuters. However, it was not feasible to ascertain the identity of the person who posted the statement, Reuters added.
Bank of America spokesman Mark Pipitone told CNNMoney that the bank is "working to ensure full availability," and that online banking is available "although some customers may experience occasional slowness."
Apparently data recorded by Keynote, a testing and monitoring company, showed that problems commenced around 10 a.m. ET and were ongoing as of 6:10 p.m. Tuesday, according to CNNMoney.
Aaron Rudger, senior marketing manager of web performance with Keynote told CNNMoney that the situation improved modestly Wednesday morning after the bank rolled out some changes to arrest the long failures experienced Tuesday. According to Keynote's data released Wednesday mid-morning, Bank of America's site performance seemed to have stabilized.
Though hacker groups laid claim to the outage on blogs and Twitter, there was little evidence to support such claims as several appeared to be hoaxes.
However, if the problem had occurred owing to system updates rolled out by Bank of America then it may not be the first instance, CNNMoney indicated. Earlier in Oct.2011, a similar situation was witnessed albeit for a full week though owing to technical issues and huge traffic.
The website experienced significant downtime following its transition program that saw migration to a new platform and deployment of new tools for customers when problems were encountered.
Assuring customers against cyber attacks, Bank of America's spokesperson said: ""I can assure you we continuously take proactive measures to secure our systems," CNNMoney has stated.
Bank of America website's supposed hacker attack is not the first instance of false claims though. Previously in Sept. hacking group Anonymous claimed responsibility for taking down web hosting service GoDaddy and another group UGNazi took blame for downing Twitter in June. However, enquiries revealed that both incidents stemmed from technical issues.
The Bank of America scrip (BAC) closed Sept.19 at $9.29, up $0.06, or 0.65% higher than the previous close.
Bank Group Warns Against Cyber Attacks
Meanwhile, The Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), a financial services industry group, warned U.S. banks, brokerages and insurers Wednesday to stay on heightened alert for cyber attacks after Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase experienced outages on their websites.
The FS-ISAC raised the cyber threat level to "high" from "elevated," citing "recent credible intelligence regarding the potential" for cyber attacks, Reuters has stated.
Bank of America Plans 16,000 Job Cuts
In another related development, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Bank of America Corp planned to cut 16,000 jobs by end 2012 as it spruced up cost-cutting measures amid declining revenues.
The job cuts envisaged under a program called "Project New BAC," outlines elimination of $5 billion annual expenses and 30,000 jobs by end 2013. However, the current move appears much-ahead of target date, Reuters stated Wednesday. The job cuts are likely to shrink the bank's employee base below that of rivals JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC).
Bank of America spokesman Larry Di Rita declined to comment, Reuters has stated. The bank had 275,460 employees at the end of the second quarter.
Bank of America is one of many financial companies undertaking job cuts exercise amid new regulations and a tepid economy, Reuters has added.