The SEC was Hacked

22 September, 2017, 00:53 | Author: Sherri Guerrero
  • Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman nominee Jay Clayton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. The SEC says a cyber breach of a filin

The US Securities and Exchange Commission was hacked previous year, and information gleaned from the intrusion "may have provided the basis for illicit gain through trading", the agency revealed this week.

The top regulator for USA financial markets says hackers may have made money from breaking into its corporate filing system and gaining access to inside information about companies.

No report yet on the size of the gains, which may have been major. But the 2016 breach was the result of a deliberate attack aimed at accessing the EDGAR filing system.

The SEC hosts large volumes of sensitive and confidential information that could be used for insider-trading or manipulating USA equity markets. The security hole "was patched promptly after discovery", Clayton said. A year later, the event has once again resurfaced with the SEC's admission that the attack "may have provided the basis for illicit gain through trading".

The statement didn't detail the nature of the information that was taken or how it was used.

Clayton said that intrusions were a reality in the current environment. It had a "software vulnerability" that was "exploited and resulted in access to nonpublic information", Clayton said in the statement.

The SEC has experienced other security risks in recent years.

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"The chairman obviously recognises the irony of the SEC potentially serving as the unwitting tipper in an insider trading scheme", said John Reed Stark, president of a cyber consulting firm and a former SEC staff member.

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

Clayton's public statement said the SEC recognizes the importance of cybersecurity and uses an organizationwide program for threat detection, protection and prevention. The SEC provided little information, so it's still unknown which companies may have been affected or if hackers made a profit.

Clayton concluded: "I recognise that even the most diligent cybersecurity efforts will not address all cyber risks that enterprises face".

The breach was first detected in 2016, but the SEC didn't realize until last month that the hackers may have been able to exploit the hack for profit, according to statement on cybersecurity policy, which was released at about 11 p.m. ET.

Wall Street's top regulator came under fire on Thursday about its cyber security and disclosure practices after admitting hackers had breached its database of corporate announcements in 2016 and may have used it for insider trading.

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