DDoS Mitigation Strategies for Banks

When you think about it, financial institutions are sitting targets for DDoS bank attacks. Or financial institutions, one single attack is all that is required to create significant havoc. When that happens,  customer confidence starts to plummet. 

Financial losses can be significant too. A survey by Neustar indicates that more than 80% of financial services firms estimate a loss of $10,000 per hour during a DDoS-related outage.

It was also reported that 38% of DDoS attacks last more than 24 hours. Realistically, no opportunity is too small or too big for threat actors. They can launch a DDoS attack with just a single window of weakness.

As recently as last week, hackers sent emails to Australian banks asking for large payments, and threatened DDoS attacks if their demands weren’t met. The threat group has been emailing victims with threats to carry out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks unless the organizations pay hefty ransom fees in the Monero (XMR) cryptocurrency.

Mitigation Strategies Won’t Always Work for DDoS Bank Attacks

There have been several rampant DDoS attacks since the year 1974. In September 2012,  Operation Ababil was launched. The DDoS attack was not a single one but a bunch that occurred at different periods. As it was a highly sophisticated server-based bot, it used both volume-based and non-volume-based SSL DDoS attacks, which succeeded in targeting and penetrating trusted environments.

The strategy was sophisticated, and standard mitigation tools were rendered useless during the attacks. Over the years, enterprises have suffered from sudden DDoS attacks, which have grown sneakier and increasingly more dangerous.

According to Neustar, the number of DDoS attacks and their scale of disruption continues to grow. There has also been more than double the number of attacks of 5 Gbps or under. These more minor and more carefully targeted attacks can aim to disable specific parts of a company’s infrastructure without the victim noticing anything.

The question then arises as to when the next attack will occur. No one can predict an answer to that. However, we all know that waiting for the next attack and reacting once it happens is not a strategy.

Implications of DDoS Attacks on Financial Institutions:

  1. Privacy and Confidentiality

    Hackers take advantage of DDoS attacks. Hackers use the mess and panic to destroy and manipulate behind the scenes. To simplify this, when IT security is busy managing the DDoS attacks – the hacker is busy stealing sensitive information.   Stealing sensitive information can be fatal for financial institutions as they contend with damages due to liability breaches from customers. Banks can lose strategic data, which in the wrong hands, could spell long-term trouble. This could take the form of competitors learning about their strategies.

  2. Information availability

    The attack’s first and most overwhelming effect is the compromised availability of systems and data. When a bank’s computer system shuts down, the whole system comes to a standstill. This is unlike the past when banks encouraged offline transactions. Currently, our institutions function mostly online and rely heavily on technology to manage operations, customers, investments, and transactions.

  3. Intention

    DDoS attacks on banks are often caused with intents ranging from destabilizing the bank to attacks for financial gain. Regardless of the motivation, the impact can be planned to cause maximum damage on a specific day or time when transactions are highest.

  4. Technology

    Since DDoS attacks are technological in nature, they can spread through various linkages and networks and cause maximum damage. Attacks are also able to affect several banks and branches at the same time. Sneakier bots can remain hidden for some time before they are detected. The bot’s tentacles are spread, enabling them to hide in another part of the network.

How Can Financial Institutions Prepare for a DDoS Bank Attack?

Several DDoS mitigation postures are available, and financial institutions most likely have one or more of them included in their security strategy.

Research indicates that DDoS mitigation postures are not always successful in preventing attacks. The whitepaper A Beginner’s Guide to DDoS Mitigation Technology carefully evaluates available postures for their advantages and disadvantages when mitigating a DDoS attack.

DDoS mitigation that is available today in the market is inherently vulnerable. Even with the most sophisticated DDoS mitigation and testing solutions deployed, most companies are left with a staggering 48% DDoS vulnerability level. 

Banks today need a technology that will work with existing DDoS mitigation. This technology should identify, report, eliminate and validate that DDoS vulnerabilities underneath the network are being mitigated, all while DDoS mitigation is busy accessing the incoming traffic.

RADARtesting, patented technology by MazeBolt, proactively identifies the problem and provides and provides optimal DDoS attack protection. 



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