Running a stock exchange can prove to be rather difficult under certain circumstances. The NZX is facing a major cyber attack for several days in a row now. As a result, no one can trade any assets, creating a significant problem,
The New Zealand Stock Exchange Issue
It is interesting to see how centralized infrastructure continues to struggle and crumble. Trading stocks has become a very popular trend lately. People from all over the world engage in this activity to make money. When a country’s stock exchange is offline, however, a very problematic situation is created. For New Zealand’s stock exchange, services have been inaccessible for at least three days now.
According to sources close to the matter, there is a hefty denial-of-service attack going on. This cyber attack is so prevalent it kept the NZX offline for three days in a row now. Its website has been brought back several times, but it usually goes offline very quickly again. As a result of this ongoing attack, trading of stocks on the exchange has been halted once again. It remains to be seen if services can be resumed ahead of the weekend.
Trouble started brewing on Tuesday, when trading halted right before closing. Wednesday saw nearly no trading activity at all due to this denial-of-service attack. With no trading happening today, the situation is seemingly growing worse. Addressing a distributed denial-of-service attack is a very tough order. Criminals will often flood online services with enough traffic to make it inaccessible. That amount of traffic can be increased if countermeasures are put in place. It is unclear when the stock exchange will come online again.
An Overseas Culprit?
As far as the NZX attack is concerned, no one knows who is behind it. Some signs seem to hint at an overseas perpetrator. If technology expert Peter Griffin is to be believed, hacking collective Anonymous is responsible for this current situation. That seems somewhat unlikely, as the group has nothing to gain from exploring this option. A criminal looking to score a quick buck seems to be a more likely culprit. In terms of ending the attack, he adds:
“The only way really to stop this, is what they’ll be in the midst of at the moment, is trying to shut down the source of this traffic, so it’s going to the internet providers overseas who are facilitating all of that traffic coming to New Zealand and saying ‘you need to shut down these servers where this traffic is coming from’.”
The big question is where the traffic comes from exactly. Moreover, one has to wonder if this approach will address the issue. It is equally possible a new DDoS attack will be triggered from an entirely different region. There are numerous botnets all over the world to leverage for such attacks. Cyber security remains a key problem for centralized infrastructure, even in 2020.
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