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Financial sector suffers costliest DNS attacks during pandemic

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DNS attack

A new report has revealed that the financial sector suffered the highest costs per DNS attack compared to other industries during the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the 2021 Global DNS Threat Report, published by EfficientIP and the International Data Corporation (IDC), damages in the financial services industry cost nearly $1.1 million per attack – opposed to the average cost across all sectors, which was $950.000. The average cost in the financial sector did, however, decline slightly compared to last year.

A vast majority (91%) of financial institutions suffered from at least one DNS attack, according to the report – and on average, companies affected fell victim to 8.3 attacks within the last 12 months, above the global average of 7.6. Those surveyed also reported that each attack took 6.12 hours to resolve, again above the all-industry average of 5.62 hours.

The report details that phishing attacks (55%) and DNS-based malware (42%) were the most likely attacks to affect the financial industry, with notable other types including: distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks (35%); DNS tunnelling (30%); domain hijacking (30%); and Zero Day Vulnerabilities (26%).

As well as the obvious high damage costs, companies also reported that the most common consequences of attacks were cloud service downtime (52%) and application downtime (52%), as well as brand damage (23%), compromised websites (43%) and stolen customer information (24%) such as bank account details or credit card information.

As an upshot of this, 55% of financial institutions have recognised the importance of DNS security for protecting remote workforces. Zero Trust initiatives have emerged as the most common solution that companies are looking to in order to prevent attacks, with 78% of those surveyed planning, implementing or adopting them. 79% of companies surveyed in the report believed DNS domain deny-and-allow lists were highly valuable for Zero Trust, helping to control which users could access which apps.

The financial industry was also most likely to consider implementing private DoH (DNS over HTTPS) – 56% of those surveyed were in favour compared to 51% across sectors.

“The financial industry is one that has always been of particular interest to attackers. The sector forms one important pillar of the economy and therefore damages caused here have vast consequences for many other sectors,” said Norman Girard, CEO at EfficientIP.

“Fortunately, the data also indicates that the industry is increasingly aware of the threat and is taking measures to improve its DNS security.”

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