Major DDoS attack upsurge hits financial services firms

11 Apr 2012

Top 10 source countries for DDoS attack campaigns in Q1 2012. Graph courtesy of Prolexic

Financial services firms are the latest sector to come under fire from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks globally, with a 3,000pc increase in malicious packet traffic over Q4 2011, according to a report from Prolexic Technologies.

The US company, which provides DDoS protection services, today released its Quarterly Global DDoS Attack Report. Prolexic monitors malicious cyber threats globally and analyses DDoS attacks using proprietary techniques and equipment.

It said it had found an almost threefold increase in the number of attacks against its financial services clients during Q1 compared to Q4 2011, as well as a 3,000pc increase in malicious packet traffic.

Prolexic also revealed it also mitigated more attack traffic in this quarter than it did in all of 2011.

Neal Quinn, Prolexic’s vice-president of operations, said extremely high volumes of malicious traffic directed at its financial services clients characterised this quarter.

“We expect other verticals beyond financial services, gaming and gambling to be on the receiving end of these massive attack volumes as the year progresses,” he said.

During Q4 2011, Prolexic said more than 168trn bits of data and 14bn packets of malicious traffic were identified as targeting financial services clients.

And in this quarter, it said 5.7 quadrillion bits of data and 1.1trn malicious packets were identified and successfully mitigated.

Compared to Q4 2011, Prolexic said the average length of a DDoS attack has declined to 28.5 hours from 34 hours. China remains the top source country for attacks but the US and Russia have both moved up in the rankings.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic