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Imagine waking up to an urgent call from the head of IT: your credit union’s website and online banking portals are being flooded by a massive wave of traffic and are unresponsive, the servers are down and an email came in from an anonymous source offering to stop the attacks in exchange for an amount of crypto-currency. Your credit union has just been hit with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
DDoS attacks on financial institutions have been on the rise for the last several years. The sheer volume of such attacks leveled off in late 2017 but also became increasingly effective at breaching existing defenses. According to Neustar Security, a cybersecurity firm, there was an uptick in successful breaches last year as cyber criminals are targeting vulnerable organizations with multiple assaults. In addition, as attacks grow in complexity, it is taking longer on average to detect DDoS attacks, with 46 percent of all assaults undetected for roughly three hours after the attack begins. A longer detection time also means a slower response time, and 43 percent of companies say they are not able to respond until at least three hours after an attack has occured.
What are DDoS Attacks?
Distributed denial-of-service attacks are sophisticated cyber-attacks where criminals attempt to disrupt a machine or network’s online services by overwhelming it with high-volume traffic.
For credit unions, DDoS attacks are dangerous distractions that hide fraud, aid in the installment of malware and viruses, or open a breach to steal financial assets and member data. In some cases, criminals may seek to cripple a financial institution’s online properties for ransom. For the duration, online banking portals may be shut down, damaging member trust and the credit union’s reputation.
There are several types of DDoS attacks, including:
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