Banks face "significant" DDoS threat as cyber criminals target share prices

Prolexic report highlights increasing risk posed by hacktivists

Financial institutions face a "significant" and growing cyber threat, as hacktivists and criminals attempt to manipulate markets with distributed denial of service attacks, according to a report.

Analysts at security firm Prolexic said that a growing number of cyber attack campaigns are being launched with the aim of lowering share prices for publicly traded companies and disrupting exchange activity to prevent trades being made.

"Since 2011, and growing in 2012 and 2013, DDoS attack campaigns have become a significant threat to financial firms," Prolexic claimed in its 'DDoS Attacks Against Global Markets' report.

While DDoS attacks may not result in physical or inventory loss, many financial companies delivering services through websites or web applications are vulnerable to "substantial" disruption to investor confidence by affecting their online presence. The report claims there is a causal relationship between cyber attacks and a change in the valuation and share price of a particular company.

A number of US banks have been targeted in the past two years including Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and CitiGroup, while, in the UK, Natwest was the victim of a denial of service attack late last year.

Prolexic highlights a number of US securities and commodities exchanges which have also been targeted, though notes that attack has been successful to entirely stop trading as yet.

The report states that attacks are coming from a range of sources. This includes cyber criminals seeking profits, younger hackers who may engage in denial of service attacks for fun, and veteran criminal gangs deploying more sophisticated attacks. Hactivist groups with a political motive include Al-Qassam Freedom Fighters, which launched a string of attacks on banks in 2013, Anonymous, which targeted PayPal in a 'revenge' attack, and l0ngwave99, responsible for an attack on Nasdaq's website in 2012 in protest at the US government.

The "rising number" of DDoS attacks has created concern over the resilience of trading infrastructure, Prolexic said. "As a result, financial institutions are anxious, and governments are considering the national security implications associated with digital assaults against the critical economic infrastructure provided by financial firms, including trading platforms."

Attempts to shore-up cyber defences in the UK financial sector have been made in recent months, with Bank of England publishing its the findings of its cyber defence stress test, Operation Waking Shark 2, today.

The Bank recently revealed that several financial institutions in the UK had services disrupted in the past six months, while executive director for financial stability, Andy Haldane, previously claimed last year that cyber attacks now present more of a risk to banks than the eurozone crisis.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Bank of AmericasecurityProlexic

More about CitigroupJP MorganMorganPayPalWells Fargo

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Matthew Finnegan

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place