Recent widespread hacking attacks on a number of US banks could be part of a cyber-warfare initiative, possibly engineered by Iran. 
The New York Times reports that US authorities believe Iran is responsible for the attacks, allegedly in retaliation for the recent economic sanctions and US-led online attacks.
An article in the newspaper quotes James Lewis, from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, as saying the US government is in no doubt that Iran is responsible.
In addition, he says the amount of data that flooded the US banks during the attacks was far in excess of the volume directed at Estonia during a 2007 attack by Russia.
Because the hacks have demonstrated a high level of sophistication, experts believe they are not the work of amateur hackers, but rather display evidence of being state-sponsored.
The US banks have been under pressure since September, with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks targeting their data centres. Some of the banks were hit with a sustained flood of traffic that peaked at 70 gigabits. Further slowing the systems, many of the attacks were encrypted, which consumes additional system resources and can quickly flood or cripple systems.
It doesn’t appear as if individual account information has been compromised. The banks hit by the attacks include Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, PNC, Capital One, Fifth Third Bank, BB&T and HSBC.