Bank of America Website Still Down – Cyber Attack?

Bank of America’s home page and online banking have been down or operating very slowly for at least the past 24 hours. The disruption came a day after the bank said it would start charging a $5 monthly fee for debit card purchases. The news about the new fee was not taken lightly by the many Bank Of America’s customers who started to express their opinions about this coming fee in many social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

A spokeswoman for the bank, Tara Burke, said earlier Friday that the site had been fully restored after experiencing difficulties between 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Eastern. Burke was not immediately available to explain the later difficulties.

Burke declined to say why the earlier problems occurred or say how widespread they were. She said customers who couldn’t sign onto their accounts still could bank via text message, at ATMs and at branches. She said the problems weren’t the result of hacking… As of Saturday October 1, 2011 the site is still experiencing problems:

After I selected “Continue to Online Banking” I got the following message:

The fact that Bank of America has not been able to fully restore its site means something either went really wrong or perhaps they could be experiencing some sort of cyber attack, this bank has been involved in a number of online controversies lately. Back in October 2009, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed he had a 5GB hard drive from one of the executive’s computers, leading Bank of America to refuse to process any WikiLeaks payments.

In response to the shutting out WikiLeaks payments, the cyber-group Anonymous has pledged to launch “Operation BOA Constrictor.”

Is this what is happening to Bank of America’s website at the moment? it is hard to say, but it is a probability.

Operation BOA Constrictor comes as Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society released a report Dec. 20 warning that DDoS attacks are becoming more prevalent while remaining difficult for most websites to combat.

“With recent highly publicized DDoS attacks on WikiLeaks, and ‘Operation Payback’ attacks by ‘Anonymous’ on sites perceived to oppose WikiLeaks, we expect these attacks to become more common,” according to the report, titled “Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Against Independent Media and Human Rights Sites.

Bank of America, based in Charlotte, N.C., is the largest U.S. bank by deposits. It offers customers a free eBanking account if they do all their banking online and at ATMs. Customers are charged an $8.95 monthly fee for the account if they also use branch locations.

Your thoughts on this?

UPDATE: October 1st, 2011 7:05PM CST, Bank of America’s website seems to be now up and running. The Bank has not commented about it yet.