Who's Behind This Massive Wave of DDoS and Phishing Attacks Targeting Dutch Banks?


Shortly after the Dutch Volkskrant newspaper story about Netherlands Intelligence agencies compromising the prominent Russsian Cozy Bear hacking group and providing the US with information about these hackers targeting the DNC, bank and government websites in the Netherlands began experiencing distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and phishing attacks. Here is a 2:24 video.

The bank ABN Amro became the first victim on Saturday, while Rabobank and ING Bank were hit on Monday, along with the Dutch Taxation Authority. All four were hit again on Tuesday, but this time their defenses reportedly fared better.

ABN Amro told ZDNet on Wednesday morning that the attack was "not ongoing at the moment". The bank stressed in an earlier statement that the DDoS did not threaten the security of its services -- it just knocked them out.

The Dutch Central Bank (DNB) has issued warnings to consumers about phishing e-mails, following a series of DDoS attacks on banks. The Tax and Customs Administration and Dutch national ID system DigiD were also affected.

DNB said there is a chance that the number of phishing emails will now increase, following these DDoS attacks. “It is not unusual for DDoS attacks on banks to be followed by an increase in phishing mail to account holders. Criminals often attempt to use the agitation around digital attacks to make people feel vulnerable, and to then extract sensitive bank account details.

The recent DDoS attacks on the banks were advanced, according to the DNB. Banks have in place strong defensive measures to ensure that services are available through websites and internet banking. The banks have been in constant consultation with each other during the few last days and have worked together with the authorities, including the DNB and the National Cyber Security Center. For such situations, multiple consultation structures have been set up, aimed at normalizing payment transactions as quickly as possible.

It is not yet known who is behind the attacks, but we can make an educated guess, based on the date-coincidence. "This weekend's DDoS attacks were heavier than previous ones and lasted longer. At the moment, it is unknown who is behind the attacks, and in by far most cases, the source of an attack is never discovered," ABN Amro said.

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