Attacks on Czech banks

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In recent days, Czech financial institutions have seen multiple DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service) that caused the short-term unavailability of provided services. “According to available information, the attack was conducted by the hacktivist group NoName057(16),” says Jan Zmítko, a Cyber Security Department consultant at Trask.

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How does a DDoS attack work?

The principle underlying these attacks is to overwhelm publicly available servers by targeting them with a huge amount of traffic, causing them to overload and crash. To do this, attackers use a large number of computers infected with malware, which allows them to control these computers remotely. This type of network is called a botnet. Unfortunately, we are also seeing cases where people download malware to their computers for a payment.

How to defend against such attacks?

Protection is twofold, on the side of the service provider, but also on the side of the user. The provider can restrict access to servers using geo-blocking, which means that access to servers can be restricted based on the geographic location of the public IP address. Unfortunately, botnets often use devices from around the world, making geo-blocking rather ineffective. Moreover, the provided services are not restricted to the territory of a single country. Another way to protect against DDoS attacks is to deploy sophisticated solutions.

Is it worth it?

These solutions are very expensive and often, it is simply not worth paying for such protection, as DDoS attacks only last a short time. The most effective protection comes from users. If it were extremely difficult for hackers to create a botnet, they would have no way to attack. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.

If we users are vigilant against the cyber threats that await us on the internet, deploy a high level of protection using antivirus solutions, honor methodologies such as Zero Trust and Clean Desk Policy, and follow strict password management, we can make it more difficult for hackers to attack our computers and create botnets. This is far from being limited to computers. Nowadays, we use a large number of IoT devices (smart home devices and so on) that can also be misused for these purposes.

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