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October 5, 2012

European banks, ISPs take part in simulated DDoS attacks exercise

Event was also participated by 25 nations

By CBR Staff Writer

About 300 European IT security professionals from banks, Internet Service Providers (ISP), telecommunication firms and government organisations have participated in 2nd pan-European Cyber Exercise, Cyber Europe 2012.

According to European Network and Information Security Agency (Enisa), the event co-ordinator, the exercise was aimed at testing the reaction of private and public sectors against a major distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

The exercise is also aimed at exploring the cooperation between public and private stakeholders in Europe, as well as identifying gaps in effective handling of large scale cyber incidents in Europe.

Enisa revealed that the event was also participated by 25 nations in the practice run, and additional four countries were monitoring.

Enisa resilience and critical information infrastructure unit head Evangelos Ouzounis was quoted by BBC as saying that the exercise was aimed at testing how member states co-operate with each other during a crisis.

"We have developed some draft operating procedures over the last two years and we would like to test how they are applied in a crisis," Ouzounis said.

"We hope that after the exercise we can then identify any gaps in the information flow, and by improving them we can become stronger."

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The DDoS attack involves several third-party computers that try to crush the targets’ servers, inducing their websites offline and disrupt their operations.

DDoS attacks have been deployed over recent months by members of the Anonymous hacktivist collective and others as a type of protest opposing the actions of their disliked firms and authorities.

According to Enisa, hackers deployed various hijacked PCs to develop several botnets through the use of diverse DDoS attacks to get through all the available bandwidth of the firms’ customer-facing websites, disrupting their access.

Enisa also revealed that web-based attacks have increased by 36% when compared to 2011 and claimed that there was a one-in-10 risk that a ‘critical information infrastructure incident’ could cause €200bn of economic damage within the next ten years.

Recently, a series of DDoS attacks have caused disrupted the websites of many US banks, including Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group, Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.

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