October 29, 2020

New Zealand’s exchange (NZX) disrupted for fourth day after cyber attacks


Ticker tape signage displayed on an office building in the CBD showing the current state of share markets and world business on March 13, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. The NZX50 opened sharply down on Friday, dropping by 8.3 per cent as world markets fall amid fears over the spread of Covid-19.

Dave Rowland | Getty Images

New Zealand’s stock exchange resumed trading Friday after experiencing network connectivity issues for a fourth day in a row related to multiple cyber attacks that occurred earlier this week. 

Earlier, trading on the NZX Main Board, NZX Debt Market and Fonterra Shareholders’ Market was halted. Bourse operator New Zealand’s Exchange previously said the stock exchange would reopen following measures implemented to maintain system connectivity.

Access to NZX’s website remained intermittent as of 9:52 a.m. HK/SIN. 

In a statement to the bourse, NZX said the pre-open of the main board and the Fonterra Shareholders’ Market was extended Friday and they were moved straight from pre-open to halt at around 10:32 a.m. local time. The NZX Debt Market was also placed on a trading halt at 9:58 a.m. local time. 

NZX in a later update said markets would resume trading at 1 p.m. local time. The main NZX 50 index fell 0.24%. 

‘Treating this very seriously’

New Zealand Finance Minister Grant Robertson said at a press conference that the government is aware of the situation and that it has directed the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) to provide assistance to NZX. 

“There are limits to what I can say today about the action the government is taking behind the scenes due to significant security considerations,” Robertson said. He added that the National Cyber Security Centre, which is part of the GCSB, is assisting the bourse operator and that the National Security System has been activated to ensure coordination between agencies and support the NZX. 

“I can’t go into much more in terms of specific details, other than to say that we as a government are treating this very seriously. We are aware of the impact that it is having and that is why we have directed the GCSB to help the NZX with this situation,” Robertson said. 

DDoS attacks

NZX said it experienced DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks from overseas through its network service provider on Tuesday and Wednesday. That disrupted trading on both days but at different times. On Thursday, trading was again halted due to network connectivity issues related to the earlier attacks. 

DDoS attacks are among the simplest forms of cyber attacks to execute. It involves delivering a heavy stream of information and internet traffic, usually with the help of a network of hacked computers, to overwhelm the systems of a target. 



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