The May 7th DDoS Attacks: Reactions, Recommendations
Reactions to the planned May 7th DDoS attacks that may be aimed at financial institutions continue to swirl.
It was CUNA that on Friday raised the alarm with a website posting announcing the May 7th attacks – supposedly in the works via OpUSA, an arm of the hacker group Anonymous.
The big question for credit unions now is what to do, to prepare for this possible attac
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At CUNA Mutual in Wisconsin, senior consultant, risk management, Ken Otsuka said Tuesday in an interview, “credit unions have to take DDoS seriously. They are at risk.”
The seriousness of the DDoS threat was underlined by CUNA Mutual’s release of a risk alert on April 24 that underlined the belief that every credit union, regardless of size, needs to work up a DDoS mitigation strategy.
Otsuka stressed however that in most cases, little could in fact be done to protect an institution before the May 7 date.
He also stressed that to his mind the key is to make sure the online banking and member account channels are well protected.
Said Otsuka, “Most credit unions don’t have the budget to use a third-party DDoS mitigation provider. They will need to work with their ISP or their web host to see what mitigation they can provide.”
Not everybody is happy about this focus on a possible May 7 DDoS avalanche, however.
A vice president of IT at a Pennsylvania credit union complained that the reporting on May 7 has essentially been fear mongering.
“There is not much a credit union on its own can do,” he said. He also said that because of the CUNA warning he was forced to prepare a report to his board of directors explaining DDoS and how to mitigate it.
“This is wasting my time,” he stressed.
Tom Cross, director of security research at Lancope, an Internet network traffic and security firm, stressed, “It’s important not to overreact. I don’t think the threats were aimed at credit unions in particular.”
He added, “The reality is that there is a constant threat of DDoS attacks if you are running a public facing website. You need to prepare for this. But it’s not possible to develop and implement a plan in a week or two.”
Said Cross about a possible May 7th DDoS blitzkrieg. “It’s an occasion to take a deep breath and take a long-term view. I don’t think people need to scramble to prepare for May 7.”
At least two credit unions – Patelco CU in California and University FCU in Texas – were hit in recent distributed denial of service attacks in which floods of external communication requests overloaded servers and disrupted service.