June 7, 2023

New zealand share markets halted for 3rd consecutive day. It’s been a wild run by the foreign threat actors

New Zealand’s stock exchange is battling to restore services after cyber attacks shuttered the market for a third straight day, frustrating investors who were unable to trade amid a busy company earnings season.

The NZ$204 billion ($135 billion) market, which is nearing a record high, was unable to reopen Thursday after the exchange’s website was again hit with a distributed-denial-of-service attack that floods a network with Internet traffic and disrupts services. Officials have declined to speculate on the source of the attack, other than saying it’s coming from offshore.

“We continue to address the threat and work with cyber-security experts,” exchange operator NZX said in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to resume normal trading tomorrow.”

The disruptions come at the worst possible time, with companies such as national carrier Air New Zealand reporting their first annual results since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. No internal systems have been compromised and trading information has not been breached, a spokesman for the regulator said.

Cyber-security experts appear baffled by the attacks, saying New Zealand isn’t typically a target and that it’s unclear whether the hackers are criminals or state-based actors.

Fancy Bear

The government’s cyber security agency CERT NZ said in November it had received reports of extortion emails targeting the financial sector. The emails claimed to be from a Russian group called “Fancy Bear/Cozy Bear” and demanded a ransom to avoid denial-of-service attacks. CERT declined to comment when contacted Thursday.

While New Zealand “is not a high profile target,” the incident raised “question marks over how much experience” the country has in dealing with such attacks, he said.

The attacks are impacting the NZX website, meaning investors without direct market access can’t see company announcements.

The exchange is yet to respond about what steps it’s taking to prevent further attacks and whether it has received any demands in conjunction with them. A spokesman wouldn’t say whether NZX was exchanging intelligence on the issues with other stock exchanges.

Korea’s stock exchange said its own website didn’t work for almost three hours on Wednesday after suffering from a DDoS attack.

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