RBS and NatWest websites hit by second cyber attack

News by Doug Drinkwater

UK banks NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) are facing up to their second cyber attack in the space of a week, with their customers unable to access their online banking accounts.

Both the NatWest and RBS websites were reported to have gone down on Friday morning December 6, with NatWest's site remaining inaccessible for almost an hour.

The company claims that cyber criminals were behind the attack and say that they brought both websites down through a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

“Due to a surge in internet traffic deliberately directed at the NatWest website, customers experienced difficulties accessing some of our customer web sites today,” the company said in a statement, before adding that there was no risk to customers at any point during the day. We have taken the appropriate action to restore the affected websites."

Ashish Patel, regional director at network security solution provider Stonesoft, a McAfee Group company, responded to the news by saying that cyber criminals could try and take advantage of the “ensuing confusion”.

“In the wake of a second reported computer crash in five days, customers should remain wary of cybercriminals looking to take advantage of the ensuing confusion,” Patel told SCMagazineUK.com.

“With Christmas just around the corner, and many customers wanting access to their money, basic security precautions, such as not clicking on links in suspicious emails, should be front of mind for all. As well as heavy investment in sufficient IT infrastructure and defences, financial organisations need to clearly communicate the potential threats their customers face during such hiatuses in service to ensure heightened awareness and damage control.”

This news comes just four days after the banking group experienced a similar issue, where consumers were unable to access their online banking details or withdraw money from cash machines on ‘Cyber Monday', arguably the biggest online shopping day of the year.

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