DDOS Attacks Surge in Financial Services Industry

The Financial services sector is now the number one target for DDoS attacks, with a 154% increase in DDoS attacks between 2022 to 2023 according to a new report by global financial service cyber-intelligence sharing group FS-ISAC. In the APAC region, financial services ranked as the third-most attacked sector, representing 11% of DDoS attacks.

The report, DDoS: Here to Stay, revealed that more than one-third (35%) of all DDoS attacks in 2023 were aimed at the financial services industry, which has surpassed the gaming sector as the most-attacked vertical. It blames the dramatic surge on the power of botnets and hacktivism motivated by the Russia-Ukraine War.

The report explains how nation-states, ransomware attackers, criminal groups, and hacktivists have all leveraged DDoS as a part of point attacks or campaigns, often using low-cost DDoS-for-hire services that are available on underground markets.

It also examines how organizations can mitigate the impacts of these attacks through thoughtful cyber hygiene policies, including regularly assessing their networks, applications, and security measures.

Other major findings of the report include:

  • DDoS attacks are quickly becoming one of the most prevalent types of cyberthreats, experiencing rapid growth in both number and volume over the past year, with significant jumps in the number of attacks during the second and third quarters of 2023.
  • Larger firms and banks with strong brand recognition are more likely to be targeted, as attackers aim to create the appearance of widespread disruption and disinformation. However, they are also the most likely enterprises to have strong mitigations in place.
  • Hacktivists and DDoS attacks can disrupt business operations, leading to a loss of credibility, customer trust, and financial damage. Moreover, DDoS attacks may serve as a smoke screen for other malicious activities, such as data theft or cyber espionage.

“While DDoS is an age-old problem, there is a renewed focus driven by heightened geopolitical tensions as nation-states and hacktivists seek to disrupt operations and break trust in the global financial system,” said Teresa Walsh, Chief Intelligence Officer and Managing Director, EMEA, at FS-ISAC.

“These DDoS campaigns are becoming more persistent and increasingly multi-vector as they target all areas of the financial sector, including wealth management, banking, credit cards, digital payments, and insurance.”

Download the report here