Cyber attackers are using DDoS attacks in an attempt to influence market values and interfere with exchange platforms, suggest an analysis of a nearly a dozen global DDoS attacks.
“Typically, DDoS attacks are launched to fuel public discourse, or for revenge, extortion and blackmail – but that is changing,” said Stuart Scholly, president of Prolexic Technologies. “During the past few years in particular, DDoS attack campaigns have posed a significant threat to the financial services industry, as well as other publicly traded businesses and trading platforms. As part of our DDoS attack forensics, we have uncovered a disturbing trend: Many of these malicious attacks appear to be intent on lowering the target’s stock price or currency values, or even temporarily preventing trades from taking place.”
The public image of a global business or financial service is closely associated with its cyber presence. Taking a publicly traded firm or exchange platform offline – and spreading rumors that raise questions about its ability to conduct business online – can create false or misleading appearances. This is a hallmark of market manipulation. Overall, the Prolexic Security and Engineering Team (PLXsert) found a direct relationship between DDoS cyber-attacks and a temporary change in the valuation of a company.
“A few specific cyber-terrorist groups are responsible for most of these attacks. So far they have not been successful in bringing down an entire major marketplace,” explained Scholly. “But DDoS attacks keep getting bigger, stronger, longer and more sophisticated, so we cannot be complacent. What’s more, the risk goes beyond the actual outage – social media chatter and media coverage can amplify the perceived effect, disruption and damage caused by a cyber-attack campaign.”