New Zealand stock exchange hit by cyber attacks

New Zealand’s stock exchange was temporarily halted on Friday due to a fourth consecutive day of cyber attacks. The ‘distributed denial of service’ attacks forced operator NZX to delay opening for three hours after crashing due to network connectivity issues, with similar problems having also affected trading earlier in the week.

The NZ Government Communications Security Bureau and the national agency for fighting cyber crime have been called in to assist in combating the problem. Although it has disrupted the market’s operation, the stoppage has not prevented trading altogether, as users switched temporarily to other direct communication. NZX CEO Mark Peterson said: “This is a systems connectivity issue and not a data or communication integrity issue.”

NZX has not revealed any further information about the source of the attacks, other than that they are from overseas, and it may prove difficult to conclusively locate the perpetrators. Network service provider Spark told news agency Reuters: “We can see the internet traffic was coming through the global gateway, therefore we know it originated offshore, but it’s near impossible to identify where it originated from.”

Such large-scale cyber attacks are relatively rare in New Zealand, although earlier this year the country was named eighth in the top ten list of potential cybercriminal targets in the NordVPN Cyber Risk Index.

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