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After Six Days of Outages, BofA Claims It Hasn't Been Hacked 315

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-just-a-flesh-wound dept.
Lucas123 writes "After six days of spotty service and outages with its online and mobile sites, Bank of America today said it has not been the victim of a denial of service attack, hacking or malware. Yet, the bank has set up a new homepage that it says will help customers navigate to the proper online service. Internet monitoring service Keynote said the outage is unprecedented in banking. 'I don't think we've seen as significant and as long an outage with any bank. And I've been with Keynote for 16 years now,' said Shawn White, vice president of operations for web monitoring service Keynote Systems. In the meantime, a BofA spokeswoman continued to divulge what might be happening, saying 'We're not going to get into the technical details. We're not going to comment on the technicalities of what we do.' Speculation among experts has been that the site is under attack."
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After Six Days of Outages, BofA Claims It Hasn't Been Hacked

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  • Divulging (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShaunC (203807) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @03:59PM (#37617528)

    a BofA spokeswoman continued to divulge what might be happening

    I don't think that word means what you think it means...

  • I think we should all have an accoutn wioth a 2nd back - becuase what if your primary bank is taken down technologically and you need to pay bills... all my bills are electronic I get NO paperbills at this point....
    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @04:26PM (#37617910)

      Why not just bank with a better institution. I just read earlier today that BofA is going to institute a $5/month fee for the "privilege" of using your debit card (which of course is on top of the 3% fee they charge to the merchant). Why does anyone still have an account with this company? It's not like there's a shortage of banks in this country to do your banking with. There's also thousands of credit unions.

      At this point, it seems like anyone that still has an account with BofA must be a moron.

      • Why not just bank with a better institution. I just read earlier today that BofA is going to institute a $5/month fee for the "privilege" of using your debit card (which of course is on top of the 3% fee they charge to the merchant).

        At least some speculation in the media has been that some or all of BofA's system problems may be due to self-inflicted system load increase in the form of large number of online account inquiries and cancellations prompted by the debit card service fee.

        • At least some speculation in the media has been that some or all of BofA's system problems may be due to self-inflicted system load increase in the form of large number of online account inquiries and cancellations prompted by the debit card service fee.

          Priceless.

      • Took care of that last year, when I was bitten by their nasty habit of processing debits before credits (one emergency purchase later, in spite of getting paid the night before they processed the check)...

        Much happier at the local credit union. Now, they pay me 7% on my checking account balance, and I get reimbursed for any ATM fees I incur. TBH, I wish I would have done this years ago.

        • by WoOS (28173)

          You should maybe start to wonder, where those 7% are payed from. Due to TANSTAAFL [wikipedia.org] your local credit union must be in some high risk operation for earning that interest.

        • Where the hell could you possibly find 7% per month guaranteed. People would put millions in that. Best I find online is 2% from a no-name place, and 1% from places like ING. Those are for savings too, not checking.

          Nobody is willing to pay 7% with the central bank rate and economy as it is. If they are, then they are doing something illegal or risky (which with money in checking accounts would be illegal). To get 7% you'd need to be in corporate junk bonds, like Ca or worse. For those the historical rate of

      • by Dahan (130247) <khym@azeotrope.org> on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @06:08PM (#37619056)

        (which of course is on top of the 3% fee they charge to the merchant)

        No, it's instead of the 3% fee they charge the merchant. The whole reason they're going to make the debit card user pay the fee instead of having the merchant pass the fee along to the user through the product price is because as of a few days ago [federalreserve.gov], it's illegal for them to charge the merchant more than $0.21 + 0.05%. Now I'm all for turning hidden fees into non-hidden ones, but we all know that merchants aren't going to reduce their prices now that they no longer have to pay large debit card fees.

        It's not like there's a shortage of banks in this country to do your banking with.

        What about banks that don't charge a debit card fee? The number of those is definitely on the decline. Wells Fargo, Chase, and SunTrust are also planning on charging accountholders a fee to use their debit cards.

        • You could stop using banks, and go visit a local credit union. I had a long meeting with a loan officer at my bank, and a week later, found out I wasn't approved for a used car loan that I wanted (they got ALL my info backwards somehow, and the loan officer couldn't actually approve, and had to send it off to some department).. Called a local credit union, was talking to a person in less than 3 rings, and was approved for the car loan (at a better rate) over the phone, in about 5 min. I pulled out of tha

  • by russotto (537200) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @04:04PM (#37617594) Journal
    "We're not being attacked, we just are totally incompetent and can't keep our site up under normal conditions"
    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      Makes you wonder what would make customers more uncomfortable- bad security or total incompetence? Though I would feel oh so much better with the statement "We're not going to comment on the technicalities of what we do." That just warms the cockles.

      • by Cryacin (657549) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @04:28PM (#37617942)
        Sack a signficant portion of your workforce because you have to cut costs because your institution bought snake oil, and this is just the tip of the iceberg of what you get. I work for a bank (not BofA), and we're already seeing massive brain drain, and the bank I work for was just caught in the maelstrom. Definitely not saying to feel sorry for anyone, just don't be surprised, and start planning to deal with crap like this as the banks begin to become head cases.
      • by tmosley (996283)
        What, we can't have both?

        Throw up your cake and lose it too.
      • "We're not going to comment on the technicalities of what we do."

        Translation: "We don't have a f***ing clue."

    • by Hatta (162192)

      What are the chances this is intentional stalling to make it difficult for their customers to cancel accounts after their new debit card fees?

    • by rbarreira (836272)

      "We're not being attacked, we just are totally incompetent and can't keep our site up under normal conditions"

      Well, it is much better than admitting everyone is trying to get their money out due to the new debit card fees.

      • by idontgno (624372)
        Interesting. Are we watching the first on-line bank run, complete with "bolting the doors"?
    • by Thelasko (1196535) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @04:33PM (#37617998) Journal

      "We're not being attacked, we just are totally incompetent and can't keep our site up under normal conditions"

      It's not a normal conditions, they can't keep up with the throngs of angry customers closing their bank accounts. [time.com]

      • by erroneus (253617)

        I am beginning to think I believe this. Apparently, with the public recognition of people leaving BofA, it encourages more customers to leave as well. This is the kind of invisible hand I like seeing in action.

        And as we can see, the invisible hand is something of a myth as the bank has not decided to back down on its new fees... well it has backed down for people who maintain more than $5k in their accounts. But you know, I would never keep that much money in a checking account. I keep whatever I can af

        • by tmosley (996283)
          What does congress shutting off sources of bank funds, resulting in new fees have to do with the free market?

          What does banking in general have to do with the free market? In a free market, all the big banks would have failed, and the invisible hand would have redistributed their resources to other financial institutions that did a better job of risk management.

          Learn the difference between fascism and free market economic systems. Knowing the difference might just save your life one day.
          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            A free market is like communism: sounds good in theory, but impossible to put into practice.

            • by Rolgar (556636)

              Free market is available in banking. Just don't feed the big companies. Do business with a small bank, or better yet, a credit union. If the bank gets bought out, move to another. Great thing about a credit union is that it belongs to the account holders, who won't sell it to a bigger bank. If we insist on small banks/credit unions, and customers consistently move away from larger ones, there will continue to be lots of small banks, maintaining a real free market.

    • As a BAC mortgage customer, (because my mortgage was sold to Countrywide which was then bought out by BAC) that is an entirely believable statement with past corraborating evidence. Although not this long term, the BAC website is regularly degraded or unresponsive altogether. If it didn't cost me 1%-2% of my mortgage in fees to change lenders I would.
      • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @04:41PM (#37618084)

        There should be a law that allows you to choose your lender, i.e., your mortgage can't be sold unless you approve the transfer. When you first buy a house, you have a choice in who you borrow money from: it's the institution that you go to to apply for your mortgage. But after that, if it gets sold, you have no control over who it gets sold to. That's not right. You signed on to be indebted to company X, not company Y or Z that wants to buy your debt.

        Would you willingly borrow money from Vinnie the Loanshark? Probably not, unless you're really desperate. Why not? Because you don't like the way he treats his customers. So you borrow money from someplace that treats their customers/debtors better. But what if you got a loan from ABC Financial Services, and then they sold the loan to Vinnie, who then threatened to break your kneecaps? You never signed up for that kind of treatment. ABC should never have been allowed to sell that loan.

        Same goes for mortgage loans. You should be able to pick your lender, and if they want to sell your loan to someone else, you should have the option to refuse. If they don't like this, they can just not loan money, or just hang onto the loans they have. They have no need to sell their loans.

        • Shame on you for wanting to impose restrictive regulations on the free market ... so that you can freely choose your service provider like you should be able to in a free market.
        • by afidel (530433)
          There are plenty of lenders that won't resell your mortgage, they just tend to have higher rates and higher credit standards. I chose to go through a broker both on my purchase and refinance because I could get ~1/4% better rates through them even though I knew they wouldn't be servicing my mortgage (Wells Fargo picked mine up both times and I've had zero problem with their monthly ACH transactions though they can't seem to figure out the right rate for my escrow this time around).
        • One has not been able to "choose" the lender since the great depression. Banks face 2 issues. The first is that they need to be solvent. i.e. more assets then loans. The 2nd is liquidly. When banks run into problems they need to sell assets – such as your home loan. Here’s why.

          I am going to use the movie “It’s a Wonder Life”. Lots of real work banking issues in that film. George Bailey, owner of a small bank, has a problem. He has a lot of short term loans (i.e. customer saving

    • "We're not being attacked, we just are totally incompetent and can't keep our site up under normal conditions"

      I know someone who used to be a tech manager in their web hosting infrastructure, and that's pretty accurate.

    • by quantaman (517394)

      It actually might be.

      The average consumer hears about technical difficulties and they just forget about it.

      They hear denial of service attack they're suddenly thinking about a bad guy trying to steal their money.

      Even the article summary lumps DDOS with hacking and malware.

  • by BagOCrap (980854)

    Bastard operator from America?

  • they should not used the lowest bid for outsourced team that redid the web page.

    • by geekmux (1040042)

      they should not used the lowest bid for...

      Lowest bidder = default action = "best practice"

      Not saying it's right, just saying...and let's not act like every other corporation not in the media today doesn't do the exact same thing.

      • by tmosley (996283)
        Supposed to be "lowest bidder to hit the spec". But who knows with these TBTF zombies.
  • by goffster (1104287) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @04:11PM (#37617692)

    Too incompetent to even know they are under attack.

  • by vlm (69642)

    Is a bank run technically a physical financial "denial of service attack"?

    • Is a bank run technically a physical financial "denial of service attack"?

      Careful. Next thing we know, it will be a crime to withdraw an amount from your bank account that threatens their operations.

  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @04:12PM (#37617710) Homepage Journal

    It's amazing what can be done with a tape vault, bulk eraser, and access to certain PIN numbers.

  • Every time I have a complaint against a company, I know my best recourse is to go elsewhere. Many people think/say this, but reality is that the convenience (or in most cases the lack of inconvenience) of staying with some company goes a looong way to keep us from putting our money where our mouth is. My BofA accounts are my oldest because I was a naive 16 year old boy who didn't know anything about banking, so I went with the most convenient. Many years have passed and I have multiple credit union accou
    • I've had my BoA accounts for a long time as well, however that is because I started with an account with BayBank, who was bought by Bank Boston, who merged with Fleet, who was bought by Bank of America. Not my fault.

      I haven't closed my account, but what I DID do was to move out everything but the minimum to avoid fees to a local credit union. So basically BoA is stuck with a tiny savings account, a credit card that never earns interest, and a checking account that never generates overdraft fees. I think

      • by dickens (31040)

        I started with Newton-Waltham Savings Bank, who was bought by Baybank, etc. etc.. and my mortgage was with Countrywide.

        I have friends who used to be Shawmut customers, and Sunbank customers in FL and KeyBank customers in NY.. they're all stuck with BoA now.

        In the process of switching out of BoA myself now. Just have to find a place to land my rollover IRA. Thinking TD Ameritrade.

      • by blair1q (305137)

        No. They still have some of your money, and all it costs them is a few bytes' processing during their nightly updates.

        Also, if you aren't using it, they can start charging dormant-account fees. They'll take out a few dollars a month, until you're below the fee limit, then it's a lot of dollars a month, until you're at $0, then they'll bill you for closing the account.

        Banks are incredible fucking assholes when they think you are weak or inattentive.

    • Try having a mortage with them, I didn't even choose them as a lender and I have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to switch to another lender. On top of that I have no guarantee if I choose another lender they won't sell my mortgage back into BAC.
      • by blair1q (305137)

        re-fi.

        Rates have tanked in the past few months.

        Right now you can probably get a good rate, and make money on it even if you roll the fees and points into the loan. Even better is if you can shorten the term by more than a few years and end up with roughly the same monthly payment. That's worth tens of thousands over the life of the loan.

        Of course, there's a good chance it will end up being sold back to BofA, but you'll be paying less.

    • I have to agree with you on that point. Credit unions tend to treat their customers the best (at least their low end customers, under 200K cant speak for higher income levels) I have used probably 15 different institutions over the past 20 years now, and of them all, the credit unions have always been the most helpful. I used BoA and had them do the same with the acct. freezing, but with my local credit union, i have 24/7 video teller service, 24/7 online banking, not a lot of ATMs, which it the downfall, b
    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      If you have the credit union opportunity and can get away from BoA, you should consider doing it. They rip you off in fees. Price compare. It isn't hard to see the difference and changing a bank account isn't that difficult. You'll thank yourself in the long run.

      The only way they hear you is if you leave.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Get an account that rebates your ATM fees no matter whose ATM you use.

      Search online for banks that do that.

      Most brokerages have checking accounts that do it, as do almost all online-oriented banks like http://www.ally.com/ [ally.com]

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      The problem is, these credit unions don't have very good ATM/physical locations, especially outside of where I live.

      This shouldn't be a problem any more, now that debit cards are so common. 10 years ago, yes, it was a problem. These days, it's simple: anywhere you go inside the USA, you can pay using a debit card. At most places, you can also get "cash back" when you buy something else, so keep $20-50 in your wallet at all times, and if you go some place that doesn't take debit cards, use your cash and t

  • that's today's Bank of America. portfolio full of toilet paper, execs who aren't canning the weasels who got them into the mess they're in or reporting them to the authorities, bigwigs giving themselves fat handshakes while stiffing the public, illegally foreclosing on houses they can't prove they loaned against, and can't fix a creaky website in a week.

    oh, boy, time to run out and put all my money there, ya betcha, Sven.

  • Per account, per month?

    If not, I hope it gets worse.

  • by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @05:45PM (#37618832) Homepage

    Bank of America today said it has not been the victim of a denial of service attack, hacking or malware

    So, instead of a victim they're announcing to the world they're incompetent. I'm not at all certain that's an improvement. It was a choice between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea anyway. One way announces their security is sub-standard, the other that they just don't give a crap, which most of their customers already suspected anyway.

  • by DCFusor (1763438) on Wednesday October 05, 2011 @06:18PM (#37619138) Homepage
    Over at ZeroHedge (no they can't take a slashdotting so I'm not making it too easy) they point out that people are leaving BOA in droves, and pulling out all their money post-haste to make it moot whether they put up roadblocks to actually closing accounts.
    .

    They, and several other "too big to fail" banks are literally broke, and a run on them would make that all too obvious. While some people observe that their market cap (total stock value) is less than their "book value" we must remember that they got FASB rules suspended, and are marking all the bad mortgages on their books to a fantasy that they'll all pay off, rather than the market value which reflects their real worth. Honest books would show they have negative value.
    .

    Since they are only propped up by loans from the fed, and FDIC doesn't have the money to back up the guarantees, the government sure ain't going to say anything that would cause a bank run, except for a couple of senators that have already mentioned in session only an idiot would still have an account with any of them. Do you suppose they know things they don't tell us? Count on it -- their own stock portfolios beat the best unprivileged managers every year, and by fat margins (double digit %) -- insider trading is legal for congressmen.
    .

    Run, don't walk, if you're in one of the TBTF banks, find a local or a credit union. You've been warned. This won't end pretty. Some of them have bad paper exposure in the trillions, and it's not on the books because the rules were changed for the emergency. The bad stuff is still there....

    • Some place that provides, well, data, like say Bankrate:

      http://www.bankrate.com/rates/safe-sound/memorandums-memos.aspx?fedid=480228 [bankrate.com]

      They seem to feel B of A is sound these days. So you'll have to forgive me if I'm not panicking because someone else is saying "The world is ending!"

      • by DCFusor (1763438)
        No question ZH is on the paranoid end of the spectrum. But they are right often enough, and bankrate is paid shills. Go check FASB rules yourself - ask yourself why the banks no longer have to report losses in derivatives. Check who contributed to the congressmen who voted for that. Go check any of what I said yourself, from any source you like.
        .

        Or don't whine about the consequences of not knowing. I trade for a living and have dug into where the money went for the past 4 years -- even paid a forens

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