Denial Service Attacks on the Rise for Financial Firms

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks continue to pose a significant threat to the financial services sector, according to a new report released by the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC) and Akamai Technologies. The report, “The Evolution of DDoS: Return of the Hacktivists”, highlights the growing threat posed by these types of attacks and the need for financial firms to remain vigilant and have robust security measures in place to protect against them.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • DDoS attacks targeting financial firms increased by 22% in 2022: The report highlights that the volume of DDoS attacks targeting financial firms increased significantly in 2022, with a 22% rise compared to the previous year.

  • Significant increase in DDoS attacks in Europe: The report notes that the rise in DDoS attacks was particularly pronounced in Europe, with a 73% increase in attacks targeting financial firms in the region. Financial services were also the target of 50% of all DDoS assaults in Europe.

  • DDoS attacks remain a significant threat: The report highlights that DDoS attacks continue to pose a significant threat to the financial services sector and that financial firms need to remain vigilant and have robust security measures in place to protect against these types of attacks.

  • The return of hacktivists: The report notes that the increase in DDoS attacks in 2022 can be attributed in part to the return of hacktivist groups, who are using these types of attacks as a way to protest and raise awareness about various political and social issues.

So, what can financial firms do to protect themselves against DDoS attacks? Here are some recommendations from the report:

  • Monitor network traffic and identify potential threats: By monitoring network traffic, financial firms can identify potential DDoS attacks early and take steps to mitigate the impact of the attack.

  • Implement robust security measures: Financial firms need to have robust security measures in place to protect against DDoS attacks, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and cloud-based security solutions.

  • Develop a comprehensive incident response plan: Financial firms should have a comprehensive incident response plan in place that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a DDoS attack, including the roles and responsibilities of different team members.

  • Stay informed about the latest threats: Financial firms should stay informed about the latest threats and trends in the cybersecurity landscape, including the latest techniques used by hackers to launch DDoS attacks.

In conclusion, the report from FS-ISAC and Akamai Technologies highlights the growing threat posed by DDoS attacks to the financial services sector. Financial firms need to remain vigilant and have robust security measures in place to protect against these types of attacks, including monitoring network traffic, implementing robust security measures, developing a comprehensive incident response plan, and staying informed about the latest threats. By doing so, financial firms can better protect themselves against the growing threat posed by DDoS attacks and minimize the impact of these attacks on their operations.

 

What are Denial of Service Attacks?

A Denial of Service (DoS) attack is a type of cyberattack in which an attacker attempts to make a network resource unavailable to its intended users. This is typically achieved by overwhelming the target system with a massive amount of traffic, thereby preventing it from functioning normally.

Here are a few examples to help illustrate the concept:

  • Flooding a website with traffic: In this type of DoS attack, the attacker sends a large amount of traffic to a website, causing it to become slow or unresponsive. This can prevent users from accessing the site or using its services.

  • Overloading a network with requests: In this type of DoS attack, the attacker sends a large number of requests to a network, causing it to become congested and unable to process legitimate requests. This can result in a slowdown or complete failure of the network.

  • Targeting a specific device or server: In this type of DoS attack, the attacker targets a specific device or server, such as a router or web server, and sends a large amount of traffic to it, causing it to become overwhelmed and unable to process requests.

As a small business owner, it is important to understand that you are not immune to DoS attacks. While your business may not have any external applications, it is still vulnerable to attacks that can impact your network and disrupt your operations. To protect against DoS attacks, it is recommended that you implement basic security measures, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems, and that you stay informed about the latest threats and trends in the cybersecurity landscape. Additionally, it is a good idea to have a comprehensive incident response plan in place that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a DoS attack, including the roles and responsibilities of different team members.

 

Frameworks That Address DDOS

 

The Center for Internet Security (CIS) Critical Security Controls (CSC) is a framework that provides a prioritized set of actions for enhancing the security of organizations’ information systems. The CSC provides a set of best practices for cyber defense that organizations can implement to protect against a wide range of cyber threats, including denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

Aspects of the CSC that specifically deal with DoS attacks include:

  • Control 2: Inventory and Control of Software Assets: This control requires organizations to track and manage the software running on their systems, including the patching and updating of software to address known vulnerabilities that could be exploited in a DoS attack.

  • Control 7: Limitation and Control of Network Ports, Protocols, and Services: This control requires organizations to limit and control the types of network traffic that are allowed to enter their systems, which can help prevent the amplification and flooding techniques often used in DoS attacks.

  • Control 8: Controlled Use of Administrative Privileges: This control requires organizations to limit the number of individuals who have administrative privileges on their systems and to implement least privilege principles to minimize the risk of insider threats and accidental misconfigurations that could be exploited in a DoS attack.

  • Control 12: Boundary Defense: This control requires organizations to implement and maintain a robust boundary defense system, including firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and security information and event management (SIEM) systems, to help detect and prevent DoS attacks.

Why it is important to follow a framework like the CIS CSC:

  • Provides a comprehensive and prioritized approach to cybersecurity: The CIS CSC provides a comprehensive set of controls that address a wide range of cybersecurity risks, including DoS attacks. The controls are prioritized based on the likelihood of a particular threat and the potential impact of an attack, allowing organizations to focus their efforts on the most critical risks first.

  • Enhances organizational resilience: By implementing the CIS CSC, organizations can strengthen their defenses against a wide range of cyber threats, including DoS attacks, improving their overall resilience to cyber threats and minimizing the risk of disruption to their operations.

  • Supports compliance with regulations and industry standards: The CIS CSC is widely recognized as a best practice for cyber defense and is used by organizations across a wide range of industries and sectors. By implementing the CSC, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to cyber defense and their alignment with established industry standards and regulations.

  • Helps organizations stay ahead of evolving threats: The CIS CSC is regularly updated to reflect changes in the threat landscape, including the latest techniques used by attackers to carry out DoS attacks. By implementing the CSC, organizations can stay ahead of evolving threats and continue to strengthen their defenses against DoS attacks and other cyber threats.

 

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