Anonymous, the loosely affiliated hacker group, has claimed responsibility for a distributed-denial-of-service attack against banking giant HSBC.
The attack was launched last night at about 10pm, and took down a number of customer-facing websites, including us.hsbc.com, www.hsbc.co.uk and offshore.hsbc.com, as well as HSBC's First Direct online banking website, preventing the bank's customers from accessing their accounts online.
There were also unconfirmed reports of direct debit transactions being rejected as a result of the attack.
A "splinter cell" of anonymous, called FawkesSecurity, which appears to be UK-based, admitted responsibility for the attack, which was carried out in concert with a number of other cells. "The proof is all in our Twitter account, targets, time and date," a Pastebin posting from FawkesSecurity read.
In a statement, the bank admitted the attack, but said that customer data had not been compromised.
It said: "This denial-of-service attack did not affect any customer data, but did prevent customers using HSBC online services, including Internet banking. We are taking appropriate action, working hard to restore service. We are pleased to say that some sites are now back up and running. We are cooperating with the relevant authorities and will cooperate with other organisations that have been similarly affected by such criminal acts."
In a later statement, it added that it had got its websites up by 3am - meaning that the attack had brought them down for less than five hours.