Distributed denial of service attacks targeting financial institutions rose 22% last year, driven in large part by political motivations, according to a new report by the nonprofit FS-ISAC and cybersecurity firm Akamai. DDoS attacks employ multiple connected online devices to overwhelm a target website with traffic, slowing or disabling the site for legitimate users. While DDoS attacks increased worldwide, the report said the problem was particularly pronounced in Europe, where financial institutions constituted half of such assaults.
The increase can largely be attributed to hacktivists who have targeted financial institutions that have taken sides in the Russia-Ukraine war or because of geopolitical tensions between China and Taiwan, or the U.S., Israel and Iran, the report said. Still, the report noted that an increasing number of DDoS attacks have taken a cue from ransomware and now include extortion tactics. It also warned that DDoS attacks sometimes are a decoy to cover for more serious attacks, such as the infiltration of systems and malware installation.