There has been a threefold year-on-year increase in the number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against financial services companies during the first quarter of 2012, compared with Q1 2011, according to DDoS mitigation specialist Prolexic.
The firm also reported a 3,000 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in malicious packet traffic targeted at the financial services sector, compared with the final quarter of 2011.
This is significant, because the total number of attacks overall across all sectors remained virtually unchanged from Q4 2011. There has been a deliberate shift towards attacking the financial services sector, and away from other parts of the UK economy.
That said, the company warned IT strategists across all sectors to remain vigilant: "We expect other verticals beyond financial services to be on the receiving end of these massive attack volumes as the year progresses," said Neal Quinn, Prolexic vice president of operations.
China remains the top source country for malicious data traffic, claimed Prolexic, but attacks originating in the US and Russia are increasing, it said.
The report comes in the wake of successful DDoS attacks on UK government sites over the weekend, with more promised in 2012 by hackers collective Anonymous.