Ally Financial sees 'unusual traffic,' cyberattack fears abound

The company hasn't said exactly what kind of issues it's seeing, and there has been no disruption or denial-of-service attacks.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Ally Financial is experiencing some odd traffic issues that have prompted some to wonder if there's more there than meets the eye.

In a statement to CNET today, an Ally Financial spokeswoman confirmed that the company has witnessed some unusual activity across its site, but so far, no major issues have erupted.

"Ally has seen some unusual traffic on our Web site, which we continue to monitor; however, we have not experienced the type of disruption that has been associated with the denial of service attacks," the spokeswoman told CNET in an e-mailed statement. "There has been no customer impact related to unusual activity and there is no indication of security concerns pertaining to customer information."

When pressed for more information on the "unusual traffic," the spokeswoman declined comment.

Although unusual traffic would not necessarily indicate a cyberattack, Reuters, which was first to report on Ally's issue, said today -- citing a source -- that law-enforcement officials had contacted some banks recently to alert them to a possible cyberattack. Other sources have told Reuters that Iranian hackers, possibly associated with a group called the Cyber Fighters of Izz ad-din Al Qassam, are targeting U.S. banks and other major corporations.

Hackers have long been interested in taking down banks. Just yesterday, U.K.-based HSBC was hit by a broad denial-of-service attack. And in June, a hacker claimed to have "penetrated over 79 large banks," and posted a sample of 1,700 credit card accounts on Pastebin. Just a couple of months later, another group, called "Team GhostShell," released a vast quantity of data from banks and government agencies.

Ally is a so-called "branch-free bank," offering mobile and online banking. The company, which started out as General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), also offers auto financing.