A group of the biggest banks in the US could face a major cyber attack next year, internet security firm McAfee Labs has warned.
In a new report, the company said the threat is linked to a malware program known as Project Blitzkrieg, which hackers say has been in development since 2008.
A separate report, published in October by cyber security firm RSA, contained information about a potential attack based on conversations from an online chat room that it believes was run by a Russia-based hacker known as vorVzakone.
The fact that the plan was openly discussed by users led some experts to suggest it was part of a law enforcement trap.
However, McAfee said the threat is credible and now appears to be accelerating.
Pat Calhoun, a network security expert at McAfee, said its research has discovered 300 to 500 devices that are already infected with the malware.
"This is actually a real operation that this individual is planning to launch sometime before spring 2013," he told CNN.
By Gary Cooper