LONDON – A group of Islamist hackers who launched distributed denial of service attacks against U.S. banks and credit unions over the past few weeks said it has suspended the DDoS campaign after YouTube agreed to pull an objectionable video.

The so-called hacktivist group calling itself Izz ad-Din al-Qassam CyberFighters announced on the web today that it is suspending its attacks because YouTube has partially removed a film it said was the catalyst for the attacks against Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Bank of the West, BB&T, Capital One, Citibank, Comerica Bank, Fifth Third Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and Patelco CU and University (of Texas) FCU, among others. Each of the institutions was forced to suspend service on their websites temporarily because the attacks affected their online and mobile banking.

Rather than attempt to break into customer accounts or otherwise violate a bank's or credit union’s online security, a DDoS attack is intended to overwhelm a website with phony requests so that legitimate visitors cannot access it. Typically, thousands of computers ? often computers belonging to people who are unaware their machines have been compromised ? are remotely controlled by third parties in order to carry out the attack.

The Islamist group claims it had planned attacks against 10 financial institutions starting today, but those plans have been canceled. The group says it will halt attacks to give the US government and Google time to remove various other copies of the trailer from YouTube.

Other institutions hit by the DDoS attacks include: Key Bank, M&T Bancorp, People's United Bank, PNC Financial Services Group, Regions Financial Corp., Synovus Financial Corp., UMB Bank, Upqua Bank, Union Bank and Zions Bank.

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