Tag Archives: Federal Bureau Investigation

NASDAQ Hackers Aimed At Corporate Bonds

The company that runs the Nasdaq stock market said Saturday that hackers had penetrated a service that handles confidential communications between public companies and their boards, The Seattle Times reports.  The service run by Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. carries strategic information for about 300 companies.

“Directors Desk provides multiple layers of security to protect our clients’ most vital corporate records.”

NASDAQ application operator

However, the company in question says it appears no customer data was compromised. Nasdaq OMX says the hacking attempts did not affect its trading systems. Nasdaq is the largest electronic securities trading market in the US with more than 2.800 listed companies.

The targeted application, Directors Desk, is designed to make it easier for companies to share documents with directors between scheduled board meetings.

It also allows online discussions and Web conferencing within a board.

Since board directors have access to information at the highest level of a company, penetrating the service could be of great value for insider trading, The Seattle Times writes.

The application’s Web page says; “Directors Desk provides multiple layers of security to protect our clients’ most vital corporate records.”

A federal official tells The Associated Press that the hackers broke into the systems repeatedly over more than a year.

Investigators are trying to identify the hackers, the official says. But still they have no clue about  motive.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiry by the FBI and Secret Service is continuing.

Nasdaq OMX spokesman Frank DeMaria says the Justice Department requested that the company keep silent about the intrusion until at least Feb. 14.

However, The Wall Street Journal reported the investigation on its website late Friday, prompting Nasdaq to issue a statement and notify its customers.

DeMaria says Nasdaq OMX detected “suspicious files” during a regular security scan on U.S. servers unrelated to its trading systems and determined that Directors Desk was potentially affected.

It pulled in forensic firms and federal law enforcement for an investigation, but found no evidence that any customer information was accessed by hackers.

Nasdaq acquired the company behind Directors Desk in 2007.

In 1999, hackers infiltrated the websites of Nasdaq and the American Stock Exchange leaving taunting messages, but Nasdaq officials also then claimed said that there was no evidence the break-ins affected financial data.

And if your interested in a little bit of extra information


“The Complete History of Hacking”


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NASDAQ Comments On Hackers, Lack of Information

We wasn’t supposed to know about the penetration of NASDAQ‘s computer systems until the US government had finished their investigation – next week at the earliest, that is. But since the story popped in The Wall Street Journal, Saturday, the NASDAQ management could no longer keep quiet. After a consultation with the US Department of Justice, they have issued the following statement.

“Through our normal security monitoring systems we detected suspicious files on the US servers unrelated to our trading systems and determined that our web facing application Directors Desk was potentially affected.”

Adena Friedman/Vince Palmiere

Security is not what it used to be.

“Many of you may have read an article published in today’s Wall Street Journal which reports that computer hackers have penetrated our network. Below are facts behind the story,” the US stock exchange writes in a note to its clients.

“Through our normal security monitoring systems we detected suspicious files on the US servers unrelated to our trading systems and determined that our web facing application Directors Desk was potentially affected. We immediately conducted an investigation, which included outside forensic firms and US federal law enforcement. The files were immediately removed and at this point there is no evidence that any Directors Desk customer information was accessed or acquired by hackers. Our trading platform architecture operates independently from our web-facing services like Directors Desk and at no point was any of NASDAQ OMX’s operated or serviced trading platforms compromised.”

“Subsequently, the US Department of Justice requested that we refrain from providing notice to our customers until, at the earliest, February 14, 2011, in order to facilitate the continuing investigation. NASDAQ OMX was honoring the US Government’s request to delay notification, but when a story ran in the media on Saturday, February, 5, 2011, regarding a hacking incident at NASDAQ OMX, we immediately decided, in consultation with the authorities, that we must inform our constituents.”

“We continue to evaluate and enhance our advanced security controls to respond to the ever increasing global cyber threat and continue to devote extensive resources to further secure our systems. Cyber attacks against corporations and government occur constantly. NASDAQ OMX remains vigilant against such attacks. We have been working in cooperation with the Government’s ongoing investigations and have received their technical advice for which we are appreciative.”

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us if needed.

Adena Friedman
Executive Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Chief Financial Officer

Vince Palmiere
Vice President, Investor Relations

Okay, but this rise a couple of another interesting questions:

Like: On which NASDAQ-unrelated US servers were the suspicious files detected?

And if I should give any advise to the NASDAQ people it would be to get a second opinion on the security issues, besides what they get from the US authorities.

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(h/t: Zero Hedge)

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And Here We Go: Nasdaq Stock Exchange Hacked!

This is exactly what I’ve been waiting for – and have been warning about – that hackers would gain access to the major financial market places. Well, now it has become a reality. according to The Wall Street Journal, quoting people familiar with the matter, US federal authorities are investigating repeated intrusions into the computer network that runs the NASDAQ Stock Exchange.

“So far, the perpetrators appear to have just been looking around.”

Hackers have repeatedly penetrated the computer network of the company that runs the NASDAQ Stock Market during the past year, and federal investigators are trying to identify the perpetrators and their purpose, according to people familiar with the matter. The exchange’s trading platform—the part of the system that executes trades—wasn’t compromised, according to the sources. However, it couldn’t be determined which other parts of Nasdaq’s computer network that has been accessed.

Investigators are considering a range of possible motives, including unlawful financial gain, theft of trade secrets and a national-security threat designed to damage the exchange, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Nasdaq situation has set off alarms within the government because of the exchange’s critical role, which officials put right up with power companies and air-traffic-control operations, all part of the nation’s basic infrastructure.

Other infrastructure components have been compromised in the past, including a case in which hackers planted potentially disruptive software programs in the U.S. electrical grid, according to current and former national-security officials.

“So far, [the perpetrators] appear to have just been looking around,” says one person involved in the NASDAQ matter.

Another person familiar with the case said the incidents were, for a computer network, the equivalent of someone sneaking into a house and walking around but—apparently, so far—not taking or tampering with anything.

A probe into the matter was initiated by the Secret Service and now includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, WSJ.com writes.

The mystery surrounding the hackers and their motives is worrying investigators, who remain unsure whether they have been able to plug all potential security gaps—especially since invaders typically seek new ways to breach systems.

The case involving New York-based Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. is part of what cyber-crime authorities see as a broader problem of hackers nosing around corporate computer networks, with varying degrees of success.

U.S. companies are a continual target, and sometimes their public websites are vandalized.

It is rarer for perpetrators to penetrate internal systems. Such breaches rarely come to light because companies fear that acknowledging them would alarm customers or encourage copycats.

Tom Kellermann, a former computer security official at the World Bank who now works at a firm called Core Security Technologies, says the most advanced hackers in the world are increasingly targeting financial institutions, particularly those involved in trading.

“Many sophisticated hackers don’t immediately try to monetize the situation; they oftentimes do what’s called local information gathering, almost like collecting intelligence, to ascertain what would be the best way in the long term to monetize their presence,’‘ he says.

People familiar with the NASDAQ matter said the Secret Service first began investigating last year.

Investigators have informed White House officials of the case, according to the people familiar with the situation, who said that such a move is typical in hacking investigations, particularly in the early stages of the probes.

Authorities haven’t yet been able to follow the trail to any specific individual or country.

Those familiar with the case says that some evidence points toward Russia, but the person or people responsible could be almost anywhere, perhaps using computers in Russia merely as a conduit.

The case poses two concerns for authorities: preserving the stability and reliability of computerized trading, and ensuring that investors have full faith in that system.

Stock exchanges know they are frequently targets for hackers.

“We take any potential threat seriously and we are continually working to ensure that our systems operate at the highest levels of security and integrity,” Ray Pellecchia, a spokesman for NYSE Euronext, which operates the New York Stock Exchange, says.

Yeah, right!

Well, let me point out a few things:

NASDAQ’s website was hacked already back in 1999 – almost 12 years ago. What do you think the hackers were trying to do? Paint graffiti on the ticker board?

Keep in mind that who ever made the  Stuxnet worm spent about 10 years to develop the first prototype.

It the security people believe that the recent hackers have just been snooping around, they must be extremely naive.

The new generation of malware has the capability to hide itself from any known antimalware tools, or disable them. If discovered, the malware mutate itself, disguise itself as a totally different file in a totally different area of the system.

Meanwhile – market participants and regulators keep blaming the high frequency traders for all the flash crashes and computer failures that has occurred lately. Just like the hedge funds was – at first – blamed for the whole financial crisis. (And a bit more…).

And, as I understand it, the incident described above happened a year ago. Why hasn’t the market been informed of this before?

Talking about investors confidence in the stock exchange systems….

Now, please get your fat fingers out of your asses and face the real world!

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