New Zealand’s stock exchange ceased trading for several hours after being targeted by a suspected DDoS attack. This comes as the second attack in as many days disrupted operations, overwhelming digital infrastructures with a flood of internet traffic.
Authorities announced that cash market trading was halted at 11:24 a.m. local time (2324 GMT) on Wednesday and resumed at 3:00 p.m. Trading in the final hour on Tuesday was also affected.
Cybersecurity expert: Jamie Ahktar, CEO and co-founder of CyberSmart stated, “Hackers are beginning to hit industries where it hurts. The last decade has seen the financial sector make a massive shift to automated trading including AI-powered technology to beat the markets. Unfortunately, that also means that an attack can have huge impacts as we saw here. Any industry that is transitioning to a total reliance on technology needs to make security a number one priority. This includes building it into the designs of their systems. The consequences of not doing so could be huge- both monetary and reputational.”
Cath Goulding, CISO of Nominet has commented on the attack:
“The DDoS attack on the New Zealand stock exchange is an incredibly serious incident that shows just how much havoc hackers can cause on a national scale, even with attack techniques that are relatively well known. There are suggestions that nation state hackers are behind this attack. Whether they are or not, it demonstrates how cyber crime can hit right at the heart of a country’s operation. While a stock exchange might not be what we traditionally consider to be ‘critical national infrastructure’ – it is critical to the economy. Any downtime at all is putting millions of dollars at stake and in this instance it was brought offline two days in a row.
“Above all this raises the issue to countries and governments around the world that critical financial services need to be treated as an extension of government security. They should be given the utmost help and support from security agencies to protect them and help mitigate damage to the economy.”