First it was credit card companies. Then vilified corporate websites. Now, the most sophisticated hackers in the world have their sights set on one of the biggest financial institutions in the world: the Nasdaq Stock Market.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, federal investigators led by the Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation have launched an investigation into repeated attempts to crack into the stock exchange’s computer networks.
The hackers were “just looking around,” sources told the WSJ, with no successful attempts at penetrating the actual trading platform. Instead the hackers could be trying to steal high-level security or state secrets.
But although the hackers are not immediately cashing out, Tom Kellermann, VP Of Security Awareness And Government Affairs at Core Security Technologies, said the hackers may simply be gathering intelligence as they figure out how to “monetize their presence” in the long-run.
The Nasdaq has long been a target of cyber criminals. In 1999, one of the most famous hacks involved a group called the “United Loan Gunmen” who successfully infiltrated websites at Nasdaq and the American Stock Exchange. It temporarily graffiti’d the homepage with the headline, “United Loan Gunmen take control of Nasdaq stock market.”
Nasdaq did not immediately return requests for comment.
Yesterday Anonymous, the clandestine group that operates “Operation Payback” and reportedly includes members of the “/b/” bulletin board 4chan.org, launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on Egyptian government Web sites.