Cyber Attacks Halt New Zealand Stock Exchange for Fourth Day

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Cyber Attacks Halt New Zealand Stock Exchange for Fourth Day
Credit: © Reuters.

(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand’s stock exchange failed to resume trading on Friday, suffering a fourth day of disruption amid cyber attacks from abroad.

The NZ$204 billion ($135 billion) market, which is nearing a record high, has been the target of distributed-denial-of-service attacks that have overwhelmed its website and forced trading halts since Tuesday. Exchange operator NZX said earlier it had been working with cyber-security experts to address the issue and was confident the market would “open as normal today.”

“We are currently experiencing connectivity issues which appear similar to those caused by severe DDoS attacks from offshore this week,” NZX said after the market failed to open at 10 a.m. in Wellington. It said it has extended the pre-open for the NZX main board and Fonterra shareholders market, while the debt market has been placed into a halt. The NZX derivatives market remains open.

A criminal gang has recently launched DDoS attacks against some of the world’s biggest financial service providers and demanded Bitcoin payments as extortion fees to stop their attacks, according to a report on the ZDNet website. It referenced an Aug. 24 statement by security intelligence company Akamai (NASDAQ: AKAM ), which said it had been tracking attacks from the so-called Armada Collective and Fancy Bear actors who are sending ransom letters to companies in finance, travel and e-commerce.

NZX has declined to comment on the source of the attacks or whether any demands have been made. The disruptions are frustrating investors who were unable to trade amid a busy company earnings season.

The outages are “hugely disruptive for everyone,” said Michael Midgley, Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Shareholders’ Association. “Our main concern, aside from any attempted incursion, is that it is potentially damaging to information flows. In the Covid world the audience is keenly watching to see how reported data relates to forecasts.”

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© Bloomberg. WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 26: A general view of the New Zealand Stock Exchange building during the first day of a nationwide lockdown on March 26, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. New Zealand has gone into lockdown as the government imposes tough restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 across the country. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday declared a State of National Emergency which came into effect at midnight along with lockdown measures. An Epidemic Notice has also been issued to help ensure the continuity of essential Government business. Under the COVID-19 Alert Level Four measures, all non-essential businesses are closed, including bars, restaurants, cinemas and playgrounds. Schools are closed and all indoor and outdoor events are banned. Essential services will remain open, including supermarkets and pharmacies. Lockdown measures are expected to remain in place for around four weeks, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warning there will be zero tolerance for people ignoring the restrictions, with police able to enforce them if required. New Zealand currently has 205 confirmed cases of COVID-19. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

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