12 Apr 2012

DDOS Attacks on Financial Services Tripled in First Quarter

Distributed denial-of-service attacks on financial services companies tripled in the first quarter of 2012 from the same period a year earlier, with most attacks coming from China, according to a recent security report.

“This quarter was characterized by extremely high volumes of malicious traffic directed at our financial services clients,”said Neal Quinn, vice president of Operations of Prolexic, which compiled the report. “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.”

More than 70 percent of the malicious attack traffic came from China, according to the report. Two of the country’s networks took first and second place as the primary source of DDOS traffic.

“The most likely explanation for this behavior is the fact that Asia continues to see increased penetration of high-speed internet connectivity,” the company’s representatives said. “At the same time, the use of unpatched and pirated copies of Microsoft Windows is known to be prevalent within the Asia Pacific region.”

Even if the main source for DDOS attacks remained China, U.S. and Russia have “moved up in the rankings," the report read.

Computers with no updated patches can easily become a target. Malicious software can link the computer to other infected machines as part of a botnet that can be used for DDOS attacks.