Saturday, 18 November, 2017

SEC: Hack used to make illegal gains

SEC says hack may have led to illegal Wall Street profits SEC Discloses Hackers Breached Its Filing System
Christy Curtis | 22 September, 2017, 01:16

Travis Smith, principal security researcher at Tripwire, said it should be no surprise that the SEC was the target of an attack. The statement didn't explain the delay in the announcement, the exact date the system was breached and whether information about any specific company was targeted.

Today, it was announced that the SEC was a victim of a late Wednesday night hack.

The SEC uses the EDGAR system for oversight of the system of public reporting by issuers and other registrants.

While the SEC handles non-public drafts of rules and personally-identifiable information, it said it doesn't believe the breach led to unauthorized access of that type of data, endangered the operations of the agency, or resulted in "systemic risk". The incident stemmed from "a software vulnerability in the test filing component" of the EDGAR system that "was exploited and resulted in access to nonpublic information". In August 2017, the Commission learned that an incident previously detected in 2016 may have provided the basis for illicit gain through trading.

However, hackers may have gotten their hands on nonpublic information.

Earlier this year the SEC filed fraud charges against a mechanical engineer who was accused of "scheming to manipulate the price of Fitbit stock by making a phoney regulatory filing" on the EDGAR system.

The vulnerability of governments and businesses to cyberattacks was exposed again Wednesday when a top US financial regulator said hackers had breached its electronic database of market-moving corporate announcements, and may have profited from the information they stole.

The SEC hosts large volumes of sensitive and confidential information that could be used for insider-trading or manipulating US equity markets.

Terry Murray, president of San Antonio-based Prescriptive Data Solutions, said the breach is yet another sign of an organization waiting for a catalyst to make significant changes in its security practice.

The revelation from the critical agency comes as Americans grapple with the repercussions of a massive, months-long hack at the credit agency Equifax, which exposed highly sensitive personal information of 143 million people. The agency said it did not result in "systemic risk". "We must be vigilant".

Clayton did not delve into details about what information was illicitly obtained, but said the investigation is ongoing and the SEC is "coordinating with appropriate authorities".

Clayton admits that "there will be intrusions, and that a key component of cyber risk management is resilience and recovery".

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