SEC reveals hack, possibility info was used for trading

22 September, 2017, 00:50 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • SEC says hack may have led to illegal Wall Street profits

The Securities and Exchange Commission disclosed the possibility that hackers who infiltrated its system for corporate filings may have made "insider" trades based on information that had yet to become public.

The hack of an aspect of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Edgar filing system occurred previous year, the regulator said in a statement. Its announcement comes about two weeks after credit reporting agency Equifax said a major hack may have exposed personal data on as many as 143 million people.

The SEC said it is investigating the matter and is cooperating with law enforcement. The agency said the attackers had exploited a weakness in a part of the EDGAR system and it had "promptly" fixed it.

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

It discovered the hack a year ago, but says that it wasn't until August 2017 that it noticed additional effects of the hack. The statement provides an overview of the Commission's collection and use of data and discusses key cyber risks faced by the agency. Clayton said SEC has been conducting an assessment of its cybersecurity since he took over as chairman in May.

EDGAR contained a hole in its test filing system that was exploited by hackers to gain access to nonpublic information.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said in a statement posted last night on the SEC's website that a review of the agency's cybersecurity risk profile determined that the previously detected "incident" was caused by "a software vulnerability" in its EDGAR filing system.

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Ben Johnson, co-founder and CTO for infosec startup Obsidian Security, said the fact that the SEC breach occurred more than one year ago and the SEC didn't disclose it is troubling.

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".

It also claims that there is no systemic risk from the hack and that it didn't jeopardize the SEC.

"I recognize that even the most diligent cybersecurity efforts will not address all cyber risks that enterprises face", Clayton wrote.

"It's hugely problematic and we've got to be serious about how we protect that information as a regulator", Huizenga said. "We must be vigilant".

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has admitted to being hacked in 2016, with illegal trading potentially at the root of the breach.

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