2-min read

Breach at NASDAQ; Computers hacked?

One of the few places which always has security beefed up round the clock, ensuring there is no breach and leakage of important and confidential information, is the stock market. Well, even such places are not free from cyber attacks and hacking. There was one such development last Friday, the 5th of February, wherein the operator of NASDAQ Stock market found some suspicious files on US computer services and also qualms rose of hackers affecting one of the internet-based client applications of Nasdaq.

However, there was no evidence or clues left behind that ensured it was the work of a hacker who tried to access or acquire customer details. Neither was there anything missing as far as the trading platforms of the parent company Nasdaq OMX Group Inc is concerned (The group functions with equity and derivatives exchanges in the United States and Nordic European countries). This was confirmed by the transatlantic exchange operator. Yet, the investigation is still on with FBI and external forensic firms still helping out in conducting and continuing the investigation. There is no clarity as to when these suspected files were left on the computers at Nasdaq and the files which were apparently called “Directors Desk” has now been removed.

Investors are intensely curious and are anxious to know the exact situation and want to be ensured of stable and secure capital markets, which in North America and Europe are mostly electronic. Speaking on this sudden event, Nasdaq OMX CFO Adena Friedman and Vince Palmiere, the VP of Investor Relations, said in a statement, “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.”

There was nothing that officials, forensic firms and several other parties could reveal as far as this particular hacking incident is concerned. A spokesman of Nasdaq OMX stating, “It’s nearly impossible to determine where it comes from, but the authorities are tracking it.” Also, the Washington FBI officials and the US Department of Justice which is also part of the investigation declined to comment on this story. Nobody willing to comment on the cyber attack brings out a doubt in the system itself and seems like there is another cover-up on the horizon. Or is there actually nothing to worry about? Time can only tell and reveal.

Such a mess up with trading computers is quite rare and it often brings up a scenario of important information and details being leaked and hence causing heavy damage like the May “Flash Crash” which evidently took only 20 minutes, but spurred worrisome minds over the stability of the much complicated US marketplace. There was immense pressure on the US Securities and Exchange Commission to crack down the mishap, and something very similar is happening now and a similar kind of pressure needs to be exerted on authorities to elicit better answers.

Let’s hope it was just a hoax and a false-alarm.

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