Breaking the Bank: DDoS Hackers Unleash Their Fury on Financial Institutions

In the past week the collective hacktivist group Anonymous has launched distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on eight international banks. Prior to this week, the first victims of the “OpIcarus” hacker initiative were the Central Bank of Greece and the Central Bank of Cyprus. reported that Anonymous launched OpIcarus in January of this year.

According to the International Business Times, “The hacker group published an ambitious list of 160 banks that they intend to target as part of their month-long campaign against the banking industry. Among those listed are banking bigwigs like the US Federal Reserve Bank, the IMF, the World Bank, the New York Stock Exchange and the Bank of England.”

These incidents offer more proof that no one is immune to DDoS attacks, even financial institutions that one would expect (or hope) to be highly secure.

Impacts of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack

The impact on each bank is unclear, but it was probably significant, regardless of whether the banks were taken offline for a few minutes or a few hours. In an online world, any service outage is barely tolerated, especially in the banking industry, where transactions are often time-sensitive, and account security is of utmost importance. Corero recently conducted a DDoS Impacts Survey of network and IT professionals, in which nearly half (45%) of the survey participants indicated that loss of customer trust is the most damaging consequence of DDoS attacks to businesses. Additionally, 34% of survey participants said lost revenue was the worst effect.

It’s safe to assume that the attacks cost each bank a significant amount of IT personnel time. There are additional costs incurred in such an attack, some of which may be difficult to assess in dollars:

  • 3rd party remediation costs
  • Ancillary services for recovery
  • Lost revenues
  • Business disruption
  • Lost customer productivity

New Anti-DDoS Solutions Are Available

When one totals up the costs of such attacks, it’s clearly expensive to experience a DDoS attack. It’s definitely less expensive to block an attack, because technology vendors like Corero have created new DDoS protection solutions that are 1) more affordable to implement and 2) more effective at detecting and blocking DDoS attacks.

DDoS attacks are becoming more common, and easier to launch; fortunately, the technology to defend against them is also easier to implement and more affordable. A technology solution that immediately eliminates DDoS attacks in real-time is worth its weight in gold. Financial institutions of all shapes and sizes would be wise to be proactive, rather than reactive, when it comes to handling DDoS attacks.

If you’d like to learn how Corero can protect your organization from a DDoS attack, contact us!