Security experts warn that distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks are increasingly used in an attempt to influence stock prices and disrupt exchange platforms.
DDOS attacks are used for various reasons. Hacktivists rely on them to raise awareness, companies to disrupt the competition, and they even represent a handy “tool” for extortionists.
However, DDOS protection services provider Prolexic reveals that these types of attacks are posing a significant threat to the financial services industry 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,” explained Stuart Scholly, president of Prolexic.
Experts say they’ve found a direct link between DDOS attacks and temporary changes in the valuation of companies. That’s because an organization’s image is closely associated with its online presence.
Spreading rumors on the Web about a company or disrupting its website, particularly when it’s an exchange platform or a publicly traded firm, can have a serious impact.
Prolexic reveals that a small number of cyber terrorist groups are behind most of the attacks aimed at publicly traded companies, trading platforms and the financial services industry. So far, they’ve failed to launch an attack big enough to cause serious damage.
However, experts warn that this threat should be taken seriously, especially since DDOS attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated and powerful.
“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,” Scholly added.
Additional details on global markets DDOS attacks are available in the white paper published by Prolexic (registration required).