Akamai prevented the largest DDoS attack on a US financial company

Pierluigi Paganini September 10, 2023

Akamai announced it has mitigated the largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on a U.S. financial company.

Cybersecurity firm Akamai successfully identified and prevented a massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack targeting an unnamed, leading American financial institution.

The attack took place last week and the malicious traffic peaked at 633.7 gigabits per second.

The attack lasted for less than 2 minutes and was proactively mitigated by the company.

“On September 5, 2023, at approximately 19:31 UTC, Akamai Prolexic, our distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) defense platform, successfully detected and prevented the largest DDoS attack directed at one of the biggest and most influential U.S. financial institutions on the Prolexic platform.” reads the post published by Akamai. “Cybercriminals used a combination of ACK, PUSH, RESET, and SYN flood attack vectors, peaking at 633.7 gigabits per second (Gbps) and 55.1 million packets per second (Mpps). The attack was sharp but lasted for less than 2 minutes, and was proactively mitigated by our customer’s comprehensive cyberdefense posture.”

The top 10 sources of malicious traffic that hit the US financial institution are from Bulgaria, Brazil, China, India, United States, Thailand, Russia, Ukraine, Vietnam, and Japan.

DDoS attack financial institution

The researchers pointed out that the malicious traffic from the United States was more than double the volume of peacetime traffic originating from the country. 

The researchers state that DDoS attacks against financial institutions are often targeted with the intent to cripple the operations of the target organization. The experts also warn of DDoS attacks used as relatively inexpensive smokescreens for triple extortion ransomware attacks. The attacks on financial institutions often have a larger impact on the overall economy.

“Historically, approximately 10% to 15% of the DDoS attacks observed by Akamai have been aimed at customers in the financial services industry.” concludes Akamai. “However, since 2021, there has been a distinct and noticeable surge in the number of DDoS attacks against customers in this industry vertical. In fact, over the past four quarters, more than 30% of the DDoS attacks have been aimed at financial services companies.”

In May, Akamai reported that on February 23, 2023, at 10:22 UTC, it mitigated the largest DDoS attack ever. The attack traffic peaked at 900.1 gigabits per second and 158.2 million packets per second. The record-breaking DDoS was launched against a Prolexic customer in Asia-Pacific (APAC).

The company pointed out that the attack was intense and short-lived, with most attack traffic bursting during the peak minute of the attack. The overall attack lasted only a few minutes.

The previous record-breaking distributed denial of service attack mitigated by Akamai hit a company customer in Europe on September 2022. At the time, the malicious traffic peaked at 704.8 Mpps and appeared to originate from the same threat actor behind another record-breaking attack that Akamai blocked in July and that hit the same customer.

In January, Microsoft announced that its Azure DDoS protection platform has mitigated a record 3.47 Tbps attack that targeted one of its customers with a packet rate of 340 million packets per second (pps).

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, distributed denial of service)

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