Cyber attacks have become an alarming problem in recent months. Threats from China have been the main concern in America, but now a new type of hacker has surfaced.
A group of Islamic internet hackers launched a distributed denial of service attack on the American Express website, temporarily shutting down the site for a few hours. As expected, this did not go over well with American Express cardholders.
In a DDOS attack, site visitors are infected with a Trojan virus that redirects them to a site of the creator's choice. Once a certain number of people visit that target site, the original site shuts down. The hackers were able to make this work successfully, but American Express's security team quickly corrected the problem. Nevertheless, it shows how vulnerable American business is right now to Internet hackers.
The hackers claimed that much of their motivation came from the YouTube video, Innocence of Muslims. Since its publication, that video has enraged the Islamic community and fueled their hatred of Americans. The cyber hackers vowed to continue their efforts until it was removed from the internet.
The original video was in English, but there are now versions in Arabic, French, Spanish and other languages. It has been blocked in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Muslim states. The video was actually removed once before because of a slew of hate mail going towards the original uploader. It was re-posted shortly thereafter and has since received close to two million views.
American Express is now taking extra precautions to ensure that similar events do not happen in the future.