Nasdaq hit by hackers

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, February 6, 2011 6:59 EDT
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WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Nasdaq stock exchange said hackers penetrated one of its computer systems, but that there was no evidence customer information or trading was compromised.

“Through our normal security monitoring systems we detected suspicious files on the US servers unrelated to our trading systems,” said Frank DeMaria, spokesman for Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., parent company of the Nasdaq.

Nasdaq said its Internet-based Directors Desk, which allows publicly traded companies and their boards to communicate and exchange information online, was “potentially affected” by the breach, which was discovered at the end of last year, DeMaria said.

“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,” DeMaria’s statement continued.

Nasdaq’s trading platform operates separately, “and at no point was any of Nasdaq OMX’s operated or serviced trading platforms compromised,” he said.

The US Department of Justice was notified and is investigating. A spokesman for the FBI declined to comment to AFP on Saturday.

Nasdaq said it also called in private forensic firms to assist its investigation.

US investigators had asked Nasdaq to keep the information from public view until at least February 14 “in order to facilitate the continuing investigation,” Nasdaq said in its statement.

But Nasdaq, which had agreed to the request, decided to notify customers Saturday after the Wall Street Journal published a story about the hacking.

Cybersecurity expert Clifford Neuman, a professor at the University of Southern California, said there are “serious implications for such an intrusion.” Hackers, he said, might have gained enough knowledge of the system to make the next step — into the trading system.

“Compromise of this less critical system could give an adversary an opportunity to steal passwords, or take other steps to jump to the next more critical part of the system,” said Neuman, director of USC’s Center for Computer Systems Security.

Even without penetrating the trading system, he said, a hacker might be able to manipulate stock prices by having access to a company’s information.

The targeted application is used by 10,000 board directors and company officials around the world, according to the website of Directors Desk, which is a subsidiary of Nasdaq OMX Group.

It boasts that confidential board information is safe because Directors Desk “incorporates state-of-the-art technology, processes and protocols to ensure the highest level of security.”

Nasdaq OMX Group said it is “vigilant against such attacks.”

“Cyber attacks against corporations and government occur constantly,” DeMaria said. “We have been working in cooperation with the government’s ongoing investigations and have received their technical advice for which we are appreciative.”

Nasdaq OMX Group, with 3,600 listed companies, is the largest exchange company in the world. Companies traded on the Nasdaq stock market include Google and Yahoo Inc.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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  • parrots_abound

    uh oh….

  • D.Crockett

    I heard that wall street paid out a big bonus recently ? lol

  • Anonymous

    I pray everyday that we wake up and that we all have $0 balances on our credit loans. After all the years of paying rip-off usury fees due to the fine print that some “jack-wagon” lawyer came up with.

  • Anonymous

    Your comment highlights one of Obama’s biggest failures. Instead of bailing out the banks through the front door, he should have reduced the federal tax to zero dollars for the middle class and poor. With that extra money we could have paid down those usurious bank loans and credit cards, thus ending this balance sheet recession and likely saving the banks in the process (not that I have any sympathy for them). He could still do it but apparently he’s just Republican Lite so not much chance of him actually doing the right thing.

    Those trillions that went to the banks would have done so much better had they been given to the people who need it most instead of those who least need it. Their mindset appears to be communism in reverse- save the rich and screw the poor. Yee-haw!

  • http://www.myspace.com/dermezel Megaprole

    I’m just waiting for that 600 trillion dollar derivatives market to burst:


    “If some banks are too big to fail, $600 trillion has become the number too big to question. That’s $600,000,000,000,000—the rough figure cited in many news reports for the total size of the derivatives market, now blowing up to such alarming effect. At a time of mind-boggling turmoil on Wall Street, perhaps it’s not surprising that few stop to ponder how a market for obscure financial products, or any product, could have quadrupled in size since 2002, and now measures more than 12 times the size of the world economy. How could any “market” rack up sales that dwarf the income of all nations combined? First of all, that $600 trillion figure is out of date, from the end of last year. Official figures haven’t been released, but surveys reveal the market has now grown to at least $668 trillion.”

    Wall Street basically claims it has 668 TRILLION dollars. I mean what will the hackers do, improve efficiency? Add real money somewhere to the equation?

  • Anonymous

    Usually banks and financial institutions and especially market institutions won’t admit if a hacker came into their system. I think this is a pre-cursor to a market meltdown and then to blame it on hackers.