A group that claimed responsibility for launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against several U.S. bank sites suspended its campaign after an offensive anti-Muslim video was pulled offline.
On Tuesday, the group, calling itself Martyr Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, posted a Pastebin message saying it has ended its assault because one version of the low-budget video, Innocence of Muslims, which had amassed more than 17 million views, was removed from YouTube. Several others versions of the clip still are available, but the hacktivists seem satisfied by one of them being taken down.
The video has incited both peaceful and violent protests in the Middle East and among global sympathizers, eventually motivating Google, YouTube's owner, to block the video in several countries, including Libya and Egypt.
The video has prompted the collective to launch attacks against Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group, BB&T Corp., SunTrust Banks and Regions Financial Corp, among others. The group claims that in the last week alone, 26 U.S. banks were attacked – with 10 being the aim of DDoS assaults this week – before the operation was halted Tuesday.
Earlier this month, the group posted a message on Pastebin saying the campaign would continue for at least 14 more months, or until the inflammatory video was pulled offline. Cyber Fighters said it would continue to monitor the progress made in removing the movie, to determine whether it would revive the campaign, dubbed “Operation Ababil.”
“All of them needed to be removed,” said the group this week on Pastebin, referring to other videos still accessible via YouTube. “Meanwhile, we will control the situation constantly and closely and will adopt the correct decision according to the future circumstances.”