Tag Archives: Website

What’s going On Online, Bank of America?

Nothing to see here, move along… Yeah, right! We’ve heard that one a couple of times before… Now, the customers of Bank of America is having trouble signing into their accounts in the past six days, but BoA still refuse to give an explanation to why the banks website is in trouble.

“When outages occur, companies need to keep customers updated.”

Jacob Jegher

Bank of America is the largest US bank by deposits and has about 29 million online customers. During the past week these people have been forced to go to a nearby branch or an ATM to do their banking business. Why? Nobody really knows – and Bank of America is certainly not telling.

A message on its home page says most of the website was working normally, but customers may experience “occasional delays.”
A spokeswoman for Bank of America Corp., Tara Burke, says the company doesn’t disclose the causes for website problems and noted that online banking was now available. She declined to say how many customers may still be experiencing slowness signing in, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“Given the last few days, we are rigorously monitoring our online banking system and chose to continue deploying an alternate home page to ensure that customers get to the right destination quickly,” Burke says.

The website delays mean customers who normally bank online may have had to head to a branch or ATM to access their accounts in recent days.

The bank’s customers also had difficulty accessing their accounts in January and March.
In both those instances, the problems resulted from “routine system upgrades,” according to the company.
(Heard that one, too..quite a few times..)

Shawn White, vice president of Keynote Systems Inc., which monitors the performance of company websites, says banks in recent years have invested heavily in promoting the convenience and safety of their online services.
Adding that the length of Bank of America’s latest outage could seriously damage customer confidence in the company’s services.
White says that Keynote’s monitoring system detected slowness in Bank of America’s online service in 10 cities as recently as Wednesday afternoon.

When outages occur, companies need to keep customers updated, says online banking analyst Jacob Jegher with research firm Celent.
That’s especially true for banks because of the sensitive nature of the information they’re handling, he adds.
Even if the bank doesn’t give an explicit reason for the outage, Jegher points out, companies’ participation in social media has led customers to expect a greater level of communication.
“We’re in an environment now where electronic banking is a mainstream channel. Any extended outage is unacceptable – particularly for a bank with this many customers,” he concludes.

(h/t: modernsurvivalblog.com)

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, Laws and Regulations, National Economic Politics, Technology

Bank Of America's Website Crashes – Another Attack?

Bank of America says all customers are now able to use their online banking system. However, the BoA website have been down much of the day for an unknown number of customers. There’s no word on when the site will be fully restored. On Twitter the speculations are buzzing that the site has been taken down by hackers who support WikiLeaks.

“We are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it as fast as possible. Please accept our apologies.”

Bank of America (via Twitter)


The bank is responding to users about the problem on Twitter via @BofA_Help. For some users, the website hasn’t been responding for many hours . A BofA spokeswoman said the problems began for the bank’s website at 4 a.m. PST Friday.

BofA says there is no timetable yet for when the website would be back to normal, but says the online banking outage affects “a small population of its customers.” The BofA spokesperson could not provide the number of customers currently affected, Halah Touryalai at Forbes.com writes.

The message also notes that the problems were not because of malware and customer information was not compromised.

On Twitter there’s a lot of buzz about the BofA website failure right now.

At least one Twitter-user speculates about the possibility of the website being hacked by WikiLeaks’ advocates anonymous:


Last year eBay’s, PayPal and Mastercard were faced with down websites after being targeted by groups supporting WikiLeaks.

However – a Bank of America spokesperson says its outage today is not the result of anything WikiLeaks related.

Last night @BofA_Help began addressing the load of complaints.

The responses from  have been pretty standard so far. Most are along the lines of: “We are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it as fast as possible. Please accept our apologies” and Online Banking Outage: Bank of America is working to restore capability as quickly as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

But that’s obviously not stopping the stream of complaints from Twitter users.

Friday is payday for a lot of people, (at least for those lucky enough to be employed these days), and many are probably trying to pay their bills online and check balances.

Blogger Templates

LATEST:

It now looks like BoA’s Online Banking Service is up and running again.

But still no information from the bank about what caused their site to crash.

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European criminals and politicians taking "libel tourism" trips to UK

Organised criminals, businessmen and politicians, particularly from eastern Europe, are flocking to the UK courts to file libel cases. Their objective is to punish and scare off journalists who ask too many awkward questions.

“The UK’s plaintiff-friendly laws, high defamation awards, strong willingness of British courts to accept jurisdiction, and exorbitant cost of legal fees make the United Kingdom perfect for oligarchs, organised crime figures, and wealthy businessmen”

The EU Observer

(Article in English)

Organised criminals, businessmen and politicians, particularly from eastern Europe, are flocking to the UK courts to file libel cases, writes EUobserver.


Their objective is to punish and scare off journalists who ask too many awkward questions, threatening the very existence of publications in the east that engage in investigative journalism since in English and Welsh courts the burden of proof is borne by the accused rather than the complainant.

Oligarchs, mafiosi. Saudi billionaires and even totalitarian governments regularly take advantage of UK laws that say that a journalist is guilty until proven innocent, according to a report by an editor with the Center for Investigative Reporting in Bosnia-Herzegovina (CIN), Drew Sullivan.

The report, published last week by the US-based Center for International Media Assistance, says that while the problem of “libel tourism” is an old one, in recent years as daily newspapers, which to a greater or lesser extent had the funds to stand up for their reporters in court, have abandoned investigative reporting, the baton has been taken up by smaller, non-profit web-publishing outfits that are in a much more precarious situation.

“By publishing online, a media organisation faces the risk of libel and defamation suits in just about every jurisdiction in the world,” the report says.

“[The UK’s] plaintiff-friendly laws, high defamation awards, strong willingness of British courts to accept jurisdiction, and exorbitant cost of legal fees make the United Kingdom perfect for oligarchs, organised crime figures, and wealthy businessmen.”

Ireland and France too are increasingly popular stopovers on the libel tourism trail, although Paris is attractive not because of the size of the awards (which are capped at €12,000), but because libel is still considered a criminal case. A journalist branded a criminal sometimes serves a complainant’s interests much more than bankrupting him or her.

In one example from June, 2008, Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov sued Ukraine’s Kyiv Post newspaper and Obozrevatel, a news website, over stories about him. The Kyiv Post only had around 100 subscribers in Britain, but fears were such that the Post rapidly settled and apologised.

Obozrevatel, which had almost no visitors from the United Kingdom and published only in Ukrainian, could not afford to defend itself and so Mr Akhmetov won a default judgment of £50,000.

“From press accounts and parliamentary testimony, we know that in the UK, there are even lawyers who will read the newspapers just to identify possible cases, call the people involved and suggest a suit in order to drum up business,” Mr Sullivan told EUobserver. “It’s a sort of libel ambulance chasing.”

Mr Sullivan’s own civil society ‘start-up’ at the CIN, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, regularly feels the heat from the subjects of its investigations, requiring the publication to have a British lawyer kept on retainer.

“For our work, we are investigating organised crime figures, politicians, businessmen of fairly high standing in the community. In the 1990s in Russia, say, they would just send some guys to beat us up, but this is a bit harder to do now, so they are using the legal route to do basically the same thing. It’s been very effective in eastern Europe.”

He said that the OCCRP is considering shutting off access to the UK to put an end to the lawsuits: “We have maybe two percent of our readership there, but the UK is causing 97 percent of our risk.”

Media lawyer Mark Stephens, who specialises in battling the libel tourists, explained to this website how things have accelerated in the last few years. “It really started off [in the 1950s], with Liberace suing over accusations that he was a homosexual, which he won. This opened the floodgates to a large number of celebrities doing the same thing for many years. This died away more recently when they began to realise that it was cheaper and more effective to spend a million on a PR man than a team of lawyers, and with much less reputational damage,”

“The claimant lawyers then moved on to Russian oligarchs, Gulf billionaires, multinationals and heads of totalitarian states, making London in recent years the libel capital of the world.”

But the problem is not limited to the east. In 2007, the Icelandic investment bank Kaupthing sued Ekstra Bladet, a Danish newspaper, after a reporter wrote articles critical of the bank’s handling of tax shelters for the wealthy. While Ekstra Bladet stories were republished in English on a Danish website that gets few or no visitors from the UK, British courts accepted jurisdiction after the bank argued that London was a major banking centre and Kaupthing’s chief executive resided in Britain.

Fearing the huge costs of the case, the paper sought a settlement from the beginning and eventually paid Kaupthing’s legal fees and additional damages, apologising to the bank.

One of the institutions at the heart of the collapse of the Icelandic economy, Kaupthing nevertheless in December 2009 became the subject of a investigation into the bank’s practices by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.

Sources:

Center for Investigative Reporting

Baltic Business News

EUobserver.com

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How Sweden sent Estonian economy into free fall

Circus Wall Street – Act 2

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