Cryptocurrency: Top Target for DDoS attacks

Stephanie Weagle
By | December 04, 2017

Posted in: Network Security Trends

The growing popularity of digital currencies has turned them into an attractive target for cyber criminals. A recent report by Kaspersky confirmed that cryptocurrency exchange platforms are frequently subject to a variety of cyberattacks, including DDoS. And last month alone, we’ve witnessed several distributed denial of service attacks on such platforms, including one on the cryptocurrencies exchange Bitfinex and another one on the UK cryptocurrency start-up Electroneum.

DDoS attacks are used to flood a website’s servers with traffic to make the website crash, or open the door to other cyber threats. Outside of the world of cryptocurrency, such attacks are used by hackers to extort money, steal data or as an anti-competitive business practice. Regardless of the motivations, DDoS attacks can have devastating consequences for companies of any size. Digital currency platforms are also vulnerable.

DDoS attack on cryptocurrency platforms could be utilized to manipulate the exchange market or the targeted currency. These threats aim to break the operability of the service and prevent traders from logging into accounts and making transactions, causing the value to drop. Attackers can then pause the attack efforts to buy as much as they can while the price is low – impacting the overall value of the currency. Those attack serve as an example of the never-ending variety and sophistication of DDoS. Indeed, attackers are leveraging DDoS in increasingly innovative ways, and so to keep up, defence solutions need to be similarly inventive.

Today’s DDoS attacks are far more sophisticated, deceptive and frequent than those of the past. The impetus of these attacks goes far beyond denying service; they are intended to disrupt and breach security barriers by acting as a smokescreen, hiding more sinister activities – usually data theft and network infiltration. Indeed, in a large proportion of data breaches reported over the last few years, DDoS attacks have been occurring simultaneously, as a component of a wider strategy. In these cases, DDoS attacks are used as a diversion to distract the attention of the company's security team and to provide a cover for more damaging malevolent activities.

DDoS attacks against digital currency are just another example of why organisations that rely on always-on internet availability need to invest in the latest DDoS protection technology, to ensure they don’t suffer downtime in the wake of such attacks. It's essential that organizations maintain a comprehensive visibility across their networks to detect and block any potential DDoS incursions as they arise.

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