Cyber attacks disrupt New Zealand stock exchange for the third consecutive day

Cyber attacks have disrupted trading on New Zealand’s financial markets for three consecutive days.

New Zealand’s Exchange said in a statement Thursday that it was working with cybersecurity experts and hoped to resume “normal trading” on Friday.

The exchange said it halted stock trading at about 4pm on Tuesday after it experienced a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack from outside the country. That was followed by further attacks on Wednesday and Thursday, and the exchange stopped trading in debt and equity markets for most of each day while the issue was investigated. The derivatives market was also closed from 4 p.m. on Thursday.

DDoS attacks aim to disrupt service by flooding a network with large volumes of internet traffic. A widespread DDoS attack in 2016 caused outages for some users on services such as Twitter and Netflix.

The motive for the attack on New Zealand’s stock market remains unclear, and NZX declined to comment on whether the attackers were demanding a ransom.

“We do not comment publicly on our specific cyber security arrangements or how we are responding to specific threats,” it said. “NZX is continuing to work with its network provider to investigate the source of the issue.”

But this type of attack is becoming much more common, as cybercriminals capitalize on the growth in public clouds and sell their services cheaply on the dark web. DDoS attacks surged 542% in the first quarter of this year, compared to the final three months of 2019, according to cyber security company Nexusguard.