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Browser automation. Lloyds Bank outage: DDoS is prime suspect

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A DDoS attack was reportedly behind online outages at Lloyds Bank a fortnight ago.

As previously reported by El Reg, the banking group suffered several interruptions to its online service on 11-12 January that it initially blamed on “unspecified technical glitches”. Customers were unable to check their account balances or make payments. Mobile app-based access was also out. Throughout the whole sorry episode, Lloyds was unable to explain the root cause.

The FT reports that hackers launched the targeted DDoS attack on the bank and others two weeks ago. Lloyds’ press office declined to say whether or not a DDoS attack was responsible for the outage when we called them. We’ll update this story as and when we receive a more substantive response.

David Kennerley, director of threat research at Webroot, commented: “Customers being unable to access their online services can hurt any institution’s brand, but it’s also important to understand that a DDoS attack is not a ‘hack’. A DDoS attack can be used to deflect security defenders away from other attacks that may be happening on the network – but this doesn’t sound like the case here.”

TSB was formerly part of Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) and still shares some infrastructure with its erstwhile parent. As a result, its tech platform was also impacted by the DDoS.

During the first day of the attack, Lloyds said it was not aware of the reason for its services outage and wouldn’t tell us even if it knew. On day two, Lloyds claimed services were getting back to normal but didn’t know if that would continue, which was, er, reassuring for customers.

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Talk of LBG being the victim of a DDoS was discussed internally, one techie at the company told us.

Ilia Kolochenko, chief exec of High-Tech Bridge, nonetheless urged the bank to mount an investigation about the attack and take nothing for granted.

“[The outage] should be thoroughly and urgently investigated, as quite often DDoS attacks are used by professional Black Hats to distract IT security teams and cover massive data breaches,” he said. ®

Do you know more about the outage? Drop us a line here


LBG has sent us a statement:

“We experienced intermittent service issues with internet banking between Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon the week before last and are sorry for any inconvenience caused.

“We will not speculate on the cause of these intermittent issues.”

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