Hackers target NASDAQ document transfer system

Stock exchange operator NASDAQ OMX suffered a security breach in its computer systems, it was revealed late last week.

Newspaper reports on Friday disclosed that the New York-based company discovered malware on the back-end of its web-based Directors Desk document transfer application towards the end of last year. The service is used by companies so that their board members can review confidential documents securely.

NASDAQ OMX says that all of the malicious files were deleted and that no customers were affected. It reassured traders that the Directors Desk system is not linked to the company’s trading operations.

"We continue to evaluate and enhance our advanced security controls to respond to the ever-increasing global cyber threat and continue to devote extensive resources to further secure our systems," NASDAQ OMX said in a statement published shortly after the incident.

The breach of NASDAQ OMX’s IT systems is the latest in a string of recent attacks that have targeted securities exchange platforms or the organisations that use and operate them.

In late January, the Times newspaper reported that the London Stock Exchange and an unnamed US exchange had procured the advice of security specialists after suffering separate cyber breaches in 2010. The US exchange traced the attack back to sources in Russia, the paper claimed.

Again in January, the European Union’s carbon trading market, which lets businesses buy and sell carbon emissions quotas, was temporarily suspended after security was compromised. Reports stated that hackers stole €7 million credits from an account in the Czech Republic, while accounts in several other EU nations had also been targeted.

Peter Done

Peter Done is managing director of Peninsula Business Services, the personnel and employment law consultancy he set up having already built a successful betting shop business.

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