Turkish banks under cyberattack amid crisis with Russia

Turkish banks under cyberattack amid crisis with Russia

Hülya Güler – ISTANBUL
Turkish banks under cyberattack amid crisis with Russia

Still image from map.norsecorp.com

A number of Turkish banks came under cyberattack on Dec. 24 as access to digital banking services were restricted amid an ongoing diplomatic crisis with Russia and a declaration of cyber war by the hacking collective Anonymous. 

The two-week-long cyberattack against Turkey spilled over to the banking sector on Dec. 24, inhibiting access to online banking services of some Turkish banks with wide customer bases. 

While the attacks created worries over safety breaches, high-level sources from the banking sector told daily Hürriyet that the hackers did not access the banks’ systems but rather created traffic to prevent customers from accessing their accounts online.

“They are not entering the bank’s system. They just create traffic prohibiting access. To put it simply, they come to the door but do not enter, hence, there are no safety risks,” one senior-level banker said.
“The cyberattacks are not about money but rather an intervention to draw attention,” another source said, asserting the attacks are a form of protest.  

Meanwhile, Turkey’s leading internet service provider, Türk Telekom, told Hürriyet that although it has been under continuous cyberattacks, necessary precautions had been taken to rebuff the attacks.

“We are expecting another big attack from both within and outside Turkey,” the company said, adding that necessary measures had been taken. 

The daily volume of digital banking services is estimated at around 1.5 to 2 billion Turkish Liras, 85 percent of which originates from mobile devices. 

The recent attacks come after a feud with Russia over Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet on Nov. 24, allegedly for violating Turkish airspace. Pilot Oleg Peshkov was killed in the attack.

Russia has since started a war of words in addition to a number of economic sanctions targeting Turkey. 

Meanwhile, Anonymous has claimed a number of attacks against Turkey over the past two weeks, accusing Turkey of supporting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) by allegedly buying oil and hospitalizing their fighters.

Anonymous also threatened to launch more cyberattacks unless Turkey ceases its purported support for the group.