New Zealand stock exchange reopens after four-day crash by cyber attacks

*Motive for attack on New Zealand’s stock market remains unclear ─Officials

*Cybercriminals can target vulnerable devices to launch stronger DDoS attacks, says expert

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

After four straight days of cyber attacks and subsequent disruption caused by cybercriminals, trading on New Zealand’s financial markets has finally resumed.

Trading began again at 1 p.m. local time Friday (9 p.m. ET Thursday), says agency report.

New Zealand’s Exchange (NZX) initially, had hoped to resume earlier, but morning trade was halted once again because of the attacks.

The Exchange said it had stopped stock trading at about 4 p.m. local time (12 a.m. ET) Tuesday after it experienced a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack from outside the country.

That was followed by further attacks Wednesday and Thursday, and the Exchange stopped trading in debt and equity markets for most of each day while the issue was investigated.

The derivatives market was also closed from 4 p.m. Thursday, August 27, 2020, as a result of cyber attacks.

CNN also reports the DDoS attacks aim to disrupt service by flooding a network with large volumes of Internet traffic.

A widespread DDoS attack in 2016 caused outages for some users on services such as Twitter (TWTR) and Netflix (NFLX).

The motive for the attack on New Zealand’s stock market remains unclear, as the NZX declined to comment Thursday on whether the attackers were demanding a ransom.

It said: “We do not comment publicly on our specific cyber security arrangements or how we are responding to specific threats.

“NZX is continuing to work with its network provider to investigate the source of the issue.”

The Exchange did not immediately respond, when asked again for comment Friday just before trading resumed, report stated.

It was gathered that this type of attack is becoming much more common, as cybercriminals capitalise on the growth in public clouds and sell their services cheaply on the dark web.

DDoS attacks surged 542% in the first quarter of this year, compared to the final three months of 2019, according to cyber security company Nexusguard.

Juta Gurinaviciute, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at NordVPN Teams, a cloud-based network provider, said: “One reason why DDoS attacks are so inexpensive is that more and more people that offer DDoS-for-hire services are leveraging the scale and bandwidth of public clouds.”

The attacks have also become more sophisticated, according to Satnam Narang, a research engineer at cyber security company Tenable.

Gurinaviciute stated that as financial organisations rely more on connected devices ─ the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) ─ cybercriminals can target vulnerable devices to launch stronger DDoS attacks.

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