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Hackers Break Into NASDAQ’s Computers

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the computers for the Nasdaq Stock Market exchange were compromised during the past year. Essentially the computers for the Nasdaq OMX Group were targeted and hacked but the trading platform was unaffected. However, it was unclear which other parts of Nasdaq’s computer network was accessed.

Federal investigators speculate on a number of potential motives around it, but intentions are likely for unlawful financial gain and theft of trade secrets designed to damage the exchange.

According to the report, the investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Secret Service. The attacks is worrying investigators, who are unsure whether all potential holes have been closed, considering the attackers are seeking new ways to breach the systems.

The Nasdaq OMX Group runs a number of stock exchanges, including the U.S. Nasdaq, and exchanges that trade in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, and the Baltic region. A global attack on all those exchange could lead to major financial issues.

The Secret Service first began investigating the attacks last year and informed White House of the case. This incident is alarming and authorities are not taking it lightly, as it plays an important role for power companies and air-traffic-control operations. The report has some wondering whether May 2010′s dramatic 1,000 point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial average may have been connected to these attacks, or another cyber crime, despite claims that it was human errors.

Hackers vandalized Nasdaq’s website in 1999 and in that incident a group quickly claimed responsibility for defacing the site. However, Nasdaq officials at that time said the company’s internal network was not affected.

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