Over one hundred million dollars were obtained illegally by the largest cybercrime collaboration between rogue members of Wall Street and hackers to date. In order to obtain crucial information about publicly traded companies before it became public knowledge, these stock traders living in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and New York would email hackers located in the Ukraine with a list of news releases concerning certain companies that they wished to have. The hackers would respond with recorded instructions on how to obtain the stolen articles. By having advance access to news containing earnings and other details, the stock traders were able to make favorable trades before anyone else knew about the information. For their skills, the hackers were paid a portion of the profits from the illegal trades or a flat fee.
This is not the first time hackers and stock traders have colluded to commit cybercrime. A similar case in 2005 involved stock traders in Estonia hacking into Business Wire in order to make well-informed trades. Cases such as these show that cybercrime goes far beyond identity theft, stealing bank information, or obtaining sensitive personal information. Additionally, some stock brokers in Manhattan were charged last month with illegally obtaining millions of email addresses and planning to spam them in order to try to manipulate the worth of certain stocks, and another hacker group tried to steal information from emails in the pharmaceutical industry to gain access to deals that could affect the stock market. In all of these cases, cybercrime is centered around market-altering information. As former Manhattan prosecutor Matthew L. Schwartz states, “hackers can obtain access to all sorts of valuable information and can and will profit off of it in every way imaginable.”
Article via New York Times, August 11, 2015
Photo: Frankfurt Stock Exchange via Tobias Leeger [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]