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NZ Stock Exchange Halted Temporarily Twice After Being Hit by Cyber Attacks


The New Zealand stock exchange was hit by a cyber-attack due to which it had to remain offline two days in a row. The exchange said the attack had "impacted NZX network connectivity" and it had chosen to temporarily halt trading in cash markets not long before 16:00 local time.

The trading had to be stopped briefly for a second time, yet was back ready for action before the day's end. 

A DDoS attack is generally a quite straightforward kind of cyber-attack, wherein a huge 'array' of computers all attempt to connect with an online service at the same time usually resulting in 'overwhelming its capacity'. 

They frequently use devices undermined by malware, which the owners don't know are a part of the attack. 

While genuine traders may have had issues with carrying out their business, but it doesn't mean any financial or personal data was accessed. NZX said the attack had come “from offshore via its network service provider". 

The subsequent attack had halted the trading for a long time in the working day - from 11:24 to 15:00 local time, the exchange said. In any case, in spite of the interference, the exchange was up at the end of the business, close to its 'all-time' high. 

Nonetheless, NZX said it had first been hit by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack from abroad and so the New Zealand cybersecurity organization CertNZ had also given a caution in November that mails were being sent to financial firms threatening DDoS attacks except if a ransom was paid. 

The mails professed to be from a notable Russian hacking group Fancy Bear. 

Be that as it may, CertNZ said at the time 'the threat had never had never been carried out, past a 30-minute attack as a scare tactic'.

Microsoft Shuts down Websites in Association with the Russian Military Intelligence Service GRU


On the twentieth of August, Microsoft made public that it effectively terminated 6 websites in affiliation with the Russian Military Intelligence Service GRU.

The hacker group that has come to light is the well-known Fancy Bear also referred to here, as APT28 which likewise has been formerly connected to cyber-espionage campaigns directed towards various governments around the globe, including to the hack of the Democratic National Committee before the 2016 US Presidential Election.

The gathering last targeted the conservative think tanks namely the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute, three which were intended to mirror the U.S. Senate sites and one of the fake ones even ridiculed Microsoft's online products.

Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) effectively executed a court order to transfer the control of six internet domains made by the group. The six domains are:

my-iri.org
hudsonorg-my-sharepoint.com
senate.group
adfs-senate.services
adfs-senate.email
office365-onedrive.com

Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer Brad Smith wrote, “We have now used this approach 12 times in two years to shut down 84 fake websites associated with this group. Attackers want their attacks to look as realistic as possible and they therefore create websites and URLs that look like sites their targeted victims would expect to receive email from or visit.”

What's more, in spite of last week's steps, Microsoft is anxious by the continuous activity that is focusing on these and other sites that are for the most part centered towards elected officials, politicians, political groups and additionally think tanks over the political range in the United States.

Since Russian cyber-attacks directed towards the elections are recurring and likely to expand , Microsoft is intending to protract the Microsoft's Defending Democracy Program with yet another initiative called the Microsoft AccountGuard , which will provide the best in class cyber security protection at no additional cost to all the candidates and campaign workplaces at the federal, state and local level as well as think tanks and political organizations that are presently thought to be under attack.