SEC discloses system hack

SEC Says It Was a Victim of a Computer Hack Last Year

The country's top Wall Street regulator says a cyberattack past year breached its system for storing documents filed by companies, possibly allowing hackers to make illegal profits.

The SEC's disclosure comes just two weeks after credit-reporting company Equifax Inc. said it had been a victim of a hack that may have led to the theft of personal data on 143 million Americans.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has revealed that attackers might have used data they stole in a security breach for illicit insider trading.

The hackers exploited a software glitch in the test filing component of the system to gain access to non-public information, the agency said. It said the security vulnerability used in the hack had been patched shortly after it was discovered.

The SEC said it has been conducting an assessment of its cybersecurity since Clayton took over as chairman in May. It said that its database of corporate announcements was breached and cybercriminals may have used the information for profit. If, however, hackers were able to use nonpublic information to affect stock prices, then bouncing back from a hack may not matter: The damage is done to the market, its investors, and its affected companies. "Combining the difficulty of tying together multiple events with the difficulty of knowing what information was accessed means that from a purely cyber and digital forensics perspective, it could be incredibly hard to prove specific trades were tied to compromise at the SEC".

The SEC may have presented a ripe target.


It also claims that there is no systemic risk from the hack and that it didn't jeopardize the SEC. It issued 26 recommendations that it said would make SEC systems more secure.

The 27-page report by the Government Accountability Office found the SEC did not always fully encrypt sensitive information, used unsupported software, failed to fully implement an intrusion detection system and made missteps in how it configured its firewalls, among other things.

Our question is, who should be responsible for protecting your personal information online?

Ukrainian hackers, for instance, compromised the networks of agencies such as Business Wire, PR Newswire, Marketwire for five whole years, stealing more than 150,000 news releases (including quarterly financial results) from publicly traded companies before they were made public.

In a statement, SEC chairman Jay Clayton said that the commission had only last month learned of the potential impact of "an incident previously detected in 2016". "We must be vigilant".

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