Nasdaq Recently Hacked Into, No Tampering Yet Discovered

By February 07, 2011
Unlocked online

Hackers have accessed the Nasdaq Stock Market in the past year, for as yet unknown reasons.

While Wall Street Journal sources have clarified that the Nasdaq system that executes trades has not been compromised, they could not determine what other parts of the Nasdaq network had been accessed. Investigators have narrowed the reasons for breaching security to a handful of motives, "including unlawful financial gain, theft of trade secrets and a national-security threat designed to damage the exchange.”

These incidents have so far not led to any theft or tampering, as the Journal describes. They compare the hacking to “the equivalent of someone sneaking into a house and walking around,” but doing nothing else. The Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have begun further inquiry. No customer data was exposed, ReadWriteWeb further explains, but the attack targeted corporate online communications tool Directors Desk.

While there appears to be no malicious consequences to the breach, related staff are still worried that more security gaps remain. Since the invasion, officials also worry that related systems could be compromised. The exchange plays a critical, described as on the same level as basic infrastructure such as power companies and air-traffic-control operations.

Information criminals have hacked into many US companies, often targeting public Web sites. They are increasingly targeting financial institutions, especially those involved with trading, according to Tom Kellerman, former World Bank computer security official and current employee at Core Security Technologies. 

The Secret Service investigation began last year, concerned with keeping stability, reliability and credibility intact within computer-based trading and investment, a frequently targeted category. Some evidence has been linked towards computers in Russia, but these units may merely have been used as a proxy from another country. As noted in Silicon Alley Insider, cyber-attacks are on the rise for financial institutions, as shown by their recent coverage of that of the London Stock Exchange.

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