Repeated Cyber-Attacks Take Stock Exchange Operator NZX Offline

There have been two cyber-attacks against the NZX in the same number of days.

The stock exchange operator of New Zealand, NZX, has been subject to its second apparent cyber-attack in as many days, with the exchange going offline for a number of hours, before resuming operations at 3.00 pm local time.

According to the NZ Herald, the exchange said: “NZX confirms that network connectivity has been restored and that normal operations resumed at 3.00pm, after placing a halt on trading in its cash markets at approximately 11.24am today. This includes the NZX Main Board, NZX Debt Market and Fonterra Shareholders Market.

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“NZX has been in close contact with market participants, and appreciates the support and level of understanding during the periods of disruption to trading.”

This is the second apparent cyber attack in the same number of days. On Tuesday, NZX experienced a shutdown and trading halted in the afternoon following an overseas-based distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, the exchange alleged.

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In a joint statement on Tuesday with Spark, the exchange communicated: “As such, NZX decided to halt trading in its cash markets at approximately [3.57pm]. A DDoS attack aims to disrupt service by saturating a network with significant volumes of internet traffic.”

The outage on Tuesday came at the same time that the New Zealand market was close to its all-time high. The S&P/NZX 50 Index closed at 11,993.18 points. This was up 72.10 points or 0.6 per cent.

Cyber-Attacks Hit the Land Down Under

The multiple shutdowns of the NZX follow on from a series of attacks in the region. In June, the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, revealed that a range of political and private-sector organisations had been targeted by a cyber-attack that was carried out by a “sophisticated state-based cyber-actor”.

Security experts pointed the finger towards three main culprits – China, Russia and North Korea, claiming they were the only countries that fit the Prime Minister’s description of the culprit. Whether these attacks in Australia and the recent ones on the NZX are related is not clear and purely speculation at this point.

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