DDoS attacks on the rise in financial sector

Financial services firms face up to 50 DDoS attacks per month and require 98 days on average to locate them, according to research from the Ponemon Institute. This new reality requires a new approach to mitigate risk.

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Security is a major concern for financial institutions. Among other issues, the popularity of mobile devices for completing financial transactions and the requirement to collaborate with many external partners are significant challenges.

To make matters worse, financial institutions are faced with yet another threat — they have become a prime target for criminal organizations and hacktivists. Some executives even suspect that foreign powers have formed alliances with organized crime to commit cybercrime.

It’s no surprise that cyberattacks are increasing in number, intensity and sophistication. In the U.K., for instance, financial services firms report three times as many security incidents as legal firms. And globally, the finance industry is increasingly subject to DDoS attacks.


Financial services firms deal with particularly sensitive information provided by their clients, who put great trust in the ability of industry specialists to protect their personal information and investments. Although DDoS attacks do not generally involve any theft of personal information, customers’ negative perception of a major service disruption may severely damage a financial organization’s reputation.


This new reality requires that effective business and regulatory solutions be put in place to mitigate risk. Industry executives must take steps to ensure IT services availability and prevent the adverse impact of DDoS attacks. According to a Ponemon Institute study, 55 per cent of financial organizations consider DDoS attacks a serious threat. Of these however, only 48 per cent feel they have taken adequate measures to deal with such threats.

Forward-thinking financial services firms are using advanced cyber-security tools to combat DDoS attacks. These tools rely on real-time monitoring to immediately detect DDoS attacks as they are being launched to mitigate the damage intended by hackers.

State-of-the-art solutions such as Arbor Networks APS closely monitor performance, as slower performance is an indication that an attack is imminent. With analytical tools detecting anomalies that forewarn of a denial of service, it is now possible to minimize the negative impacts of an attack.

The Ponemon Institute research also reveals that 83 per cent of financial services firms face 50 DDoS attacks per month and require 98 days on average to locate them. These are real threats that need to be addressed with determination by the financial services industry.

Read more in a whitepaper on how to quantify the financial risk of DDoS attacks. Topics explored include the goals of a DDoS attack and the correlation between vulnerability and reliance on social networks.

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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