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February 05, 2014

Cyber Attackers Use DDoS to Influence Stock Prices, Limit Trading: Prolexic

Recent Distributed Denial of Service incidents show that cyber attackers are using DDoS to influence stock price values and interfere with exchange platforms, according to Prolexic Technologies.

In a new white paper, “DDoS Attacks Against Global Markets,” Prolexic says the attackers appear to be preventing trades from taking place, as well.

“Typically, DDoS attacks are launched to fuel public discourse, or for revenge, extortion and blackmail – but that is changing,” Stuart Scholly, president of Prolexic, said in a statement. “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 company – which provides (DDoS) mitigation services – explains how an image of a business or financial services firm is linked with its presence in the cyber sector. “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,” the company said in the statement. “This is a hallmark of market manipulation.” The study said there is a “direct relationship” between DDoS cyber-attacks and temporary changes in a company’s valuation.

“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,” Scholly added. “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.”

Last year, Prolexic reported increases in most categories for DDoS attacks compared to 2012. Overall, attacks increased last year by over one-third compared to the number which took place in 2012.

Looking ahead, hackers are apparently more resourceful and the DDoS attacks are more sophisticated, TMCnet reported. The new white paper details the groups responsible for most of the attacks, too.

Meanwhile, several large banks, e-Commerce, SaaS, payment processing, travel/hospitality, gaming, energy and firms from other sectors use Prolexic services. Akamai (News - Alert) is expected to acquire Prolexic during the first half of this year. The threat of DDoS attacks means the mitigation services remain in demand, given the financial risk to businesses in many sectors.




Edited by Cassandra Tucker
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