SEC says it was hacked; data might have been used in trading

SEC says hack may have led to illegal Wall Street profits

The US Securities and Exchange Commission was subject to hacking previous year, it has disclosed.

The SEC, which regulates the financial securities industry, gave few details on the hack but said the hackers may have made "illicit gain through trading", NBC News reported. 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 Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement that it was still investigating the breach of its corporate filing system. But the 2016 breach was the result of a deliberate attack aimed at accessing the EDGAR filing system.

Hackers may have used information stolen from the United States financial regulator to make "illicit gain" through insider trading, the body's chairman admitted.

While the 2016 SEC breach was known by the agency, it was never disclosed to the public; the expanded impact of the incident was not uncovered until August, more than one year after the attack.


"The SEC is a juicy target because they store non-public information, which can be used to exploit the stock market - not exploiting in the technical sense, but using the non-public information to successfully invest in the stock market", Smith told SearchSecurity.

The statement from Clayton also mentioned that some SEC laptops that could have stored private data were unable to be located during an internal review of the body in 2014. The statement said that it didn't believe any personally identifiable information or SEC operations were compromised and that an investigation was continuing.

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.

If the right information gets into the wrong hands it can greatly upset the stability of the market, and if hacks happen it's hard to trust trading on Wall Street to be fair. The SEC sometimes handles its own sensitive information, including disclosures that companies are allowed to keep away from investors.

But it is what the unknown hackers were able to see and make use of that has forced SEC to disclose the breach. "We also must recognise - in both the public and private sectors, including the SEC - that there will be intrusions, and that a key component of cyber risk management is resilience and recovery".

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